Both Martin and Liz have children from previous relationships, but this didn’t stop them from becoming foster carers. They welcomed a young girl at the of 11 into their home and family and have never looked back.
We’ve been together for 14 years and both have children from previous relationships. We made the decision to not have children together but instead open our home and hearts to children who may need a secure and loving home.
I remember seeing ‘Find a Family’ adverts on TV when I was younger and my own father always wanted to foster however, my mum felt it might not be right for her. This memory has always stuck with me and so when we discussed becoming foster parents, we made the decision to wait until our children left home and were independent.
I was made redundant having worked for a catering company and Martin was working from home, so it felt like the right time to start our foster care journey.
Initially, we approached our local authority and we didn’t get a response, we then contacted a local independent fostering agency and we just weren’t comfortable with their approach. Finally, we contacted Capstone Foster Care after ‘Googling’ local fostering agencies and knew we had found the right agency for us.
Personally, I struggled to come to peace with working with an independent foster agency which is a private organisation. I know now though, that Capstone’s investment in MATS (Multi-disciplinary Assessment & Treatment Services) makes a huge difference to lives of children who find themselves in care.
The service includes social workers, child psychotherapists, play therapists, dyadic developmental psychotherapists, social pedagogues, support workers, and educational specialists. This gamut of experts is completely available to children, young people and carers.
With our first placement we’ve been able to use this service with Capstone Foster Care which we know would have been difficult had we needed to use the overstretched Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) NHS service.
Our children were very supportive of the idea of us becoming foster carers and always thought we’d make great carers. Our house was always open to our children’s friends who needed support, so we had a history of helping and protecting people in need.
They have embraced our first placement, a young girl who is now aged 11. Our wider families have also supported us and welcomed her with open arms. She calls my parents nanny and grandad and we all get together to celebrate her ‘anniversary’ day, the day she first came to stay with us.
The training and support we’ve had from Capstone to get to this point has been amazing. There’s always someone there for us and advocating for us which has been invaluable.
And while we’ve been fortunate to have a placement that ‘just fit’ with our family, we acknowledge that being a foster carer is not like bringing up our own children. There are a number of people involved in the decision-making processes, but we know this is how it needs to be to help some of the most vulnerable children in our society.