Having adopted two children, Julie and Richard knew that they wanted to make more of a difference to young people’s lives and they decided to foster. They transferred to us and have taken care of 8 children in last 8 years.
After the adoption of our own two wonderful children, when they were babies, we always knew we would go into fostering at some point to give something back for our wonderful gift, and here we are all these years later still taking placements and trying to make a difference to young lives.
We joined Capstone in 2012 after previously fostering with a smaller agency and in the last 8 years we have had the joy and experience of looking after another 8 children and young people. The transition from one agency to another happened quite smoothly but there were a few changes that we had to get used to, however we feel over the years Capstone have listened to their carers and made some great changes.
Before taking our very first placement we were naturally both quite apprehensive, but we had experience of taking children out on activity days before, so we had an idea of what to expect, although now on reflection we understand that each placement is very different. Over the years our fostering placements have varied but we had mostly looked after teenagers on both a short and long-term basis. Having been youth workers in our communities for 20 years, Richard and I already had the experience of working with teenagers, so we felt this was right for us when starting out.
Then years later we decided to take on a new challenge and decided to look after younger children and now we currently have a wonderful 8 and 9-year-old who are with us and doing really well. At first, we thought we wouldn’t have the energy but we actually really enjoying the busier lifestyle and have adapted. We can see the progress that are making and hopefully we can steer their way forward so that they can reach their full potential in the future.
We have created lifelong bonds with some of our young people. Helped some move on to independence and had to say goodbye to others which is still hard to accept. However, knowing that the difference we can help, keeps us going. I would say that is our biggest achievement as foster carers; Providing a safe, secure relationship between carer and young person. That is everlasting, if they want it to be.
In terms of our own children, fostering has certainly helped them learn about their emotions and broaden their experience and understanding on life. I believe it has had a positive impact on their lives. However, there have been days that have been quite challenging, and it can be difficult for the whole family. That being said, the support from Capstone and our social worker has been brilliant. They’re always on hand when we need them, and the support and training has been key to helping us with our placements.
Fostering was not what we originally expected, and I think we went into it with rose tinted glasses on. We weren’t really prepared for the depth of emotion some of these children would come to us with but being able to help them work through their past trauma and give them new memories, makes it all worth it. We just want to give them hope for their futures.
We get to see some of our foster carer friends who are also making a difference too and this helps keep us motivated to carry on. One of the biggest things we have learnt over the past 18 years of fostering is to take one day at a time, just go with the flow and listen to the advice you’re given.
If I’m honest, we are quite humble about being foster carers, but it really is worthwhile, and many more foster carers are needed. We would recommend Capstone, so if you are thinking about fostering, it is definitely worth contacting them.