Marcus has a condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa which can cause visual impairment. Despite his nervousness about applying to become a foster carer, he and his partner Debbie are approved to care for children in short term, emergency, respite and long term placements.
I retired from my position in Sales at the age of 50 due to a visual impairment diagnosis in 2006. My condition Retinitis Pigmentosa deteriorated and felt that it was time to leave my position and reconsider my plans.
I began to explore my options as I knew I wanted to do more with my time and still felt like I could give back to the community, despite my condition. My sister was a foster carer and adoption was something that had been done in my extended family. I wanted to find out whether this was something I could also do.
Capstone is a local agency and following my initial visit Debbie and I entered our assessment process that lasted 6 months. We were recommended to be approved as foster carers at panel in March 2017 and our fostering journey began.
I considered whether my condition would make a difference to whether I could foster or not, and realised that if I had had my own young birth children at home I would have naturally have had to adapt to provide care for them so why not apply the same principle to taking care of children and young people who are in need of a loving and caring home.
I have to be careful with toys being around on the floor as my peripheral vision is affected but I use public transport and taxis to attend my meetings, go to health appointments, take our child to school as well as meet the birth family for contact. You learn to adapt, and Debbie and I are more than able to provide for a child.
There is a stigma attached to fostering that makes many people think that the children are challenging however, the reality is every child comes into care for different reasons, it may be neglect or abandonment and so the challenges you face all depends on what that child needs from you as a foster family.
We are motivated to encourage our little boy that we care for to try and experience new things and since being with us he has been to the beach for the first time, been to Go Ape, and visited The Cotswolds as well as other destinations on holiday. He is developing positive relationships, enjoying school and the time together that they have with wider family members.
I am over the moon with fostering and my only regret is that I didn’t start my fostering journey 5 or 6 years earlier.
Even if I was not visually impaired this is still the most rewarding job I have ever done.