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Meet Denise and Mark

 The absolute best feeling about fostering is someone putting their arms around you and telling you that they love you. Seeing them achieve and how far they come is so incredibly rewarding as you know that you have had a big hand in that.

Denise & Mark

We’ve been married now for 10 years. I’ve got two children from a previous marriage, who are now grown up and Mark has never had children of his own. I’ve always been interested in becoming a foster carer and last year Mark and I agreed that our circumstances were in a really good place for fostering. Our builder and his partner who are also foster carers recommended Capstone Foster Care to us and so we took that leap, made an enquiry, and ultimately followed the process to become foster carers.

We had lots of different reactions from our family when we first told them about becoming foster carers. From calling us heroes to worrying about how the family dynamic will change to thinking we’re completely mad! As we’ve settled into becoming foster carers though, the support from our family has been amazing.

Our first foster child came to us on a temporary respite placement, and she has been here ever since following a breakdown in relationship with her previous carers. We provided day care for our second placement. Things weren’t working out too well with her previous foster carers and we fell in love with her too, so she has also been with us ever since. They have both settled in really well and we envisage that we will now be a part of their lives forever. We will always be a constant for them, even when they’re fully grown up and independent.

Our youngest recently won an award from the council which was amazing. Her teacher had put her up for the award and it was for “determination and progress”.

We have two gentle dogs (lab crosses) and this has been wonderful for the girls. One sleeps with our teenage foster child which helps her so much and the other (very willingly) plays dress up with our younger foster child.

Fostering is harder than we thought it would be. As most people probably do, we went into the process quite naïvely, but that’s actually not a bad thing and I think it’s the best way. You cope with the challenges as they happen better than you would imagine.

There are so many ups and downs, but the ups far outweigh the downs and the rewards really are amazing.

We’ve learnt so much about trauma and how it affects children. One of the hardest things was expecting that a foster child might feel some appreciation for example, but we realise now that this shouldn’t be expected at all. They have so much going on inside their heads with what they have been through, they just don’t have the room to see outside of that. A child who has been through trauma can’t give you what YOU need. But you have to understand that it isn’t about you. It’s always about them and you get rewards in other ways.

The absolute best feeling about fostering is someone putting their arms around you and telling you that they love you. Seeing them achieve and how far they come is so incredibly rewarding as you know that you have had a big hand in that.

The training is just outstanding at Capstone Foster Care. I was talking to a lady at swimming a while ago who also had a foster child with her. She was a foster carer with the local authority and she told me how she had been waiting 18 months for psychological support for her foster child. We have had meetings with a psychotherapist for 1 hour every week via the Capstone MATTS programme from the start and it made us realise just how different things might be without the support available from Capstone.

If you’re thinking of becoming a foster carer…

I would say to absolutely go with your heart and everything else will follow. No matter how much you prepare, it will be different to what you think, but the rewards will be amazing.

I can’t emphasis enough about how important the support and training is. Capstone will hold your hand throughout the whole process and that’s just exactly what you need. I don’t think we would have been able to continue with the challenges along the way if it wasn’t for the support and training we’ve received.

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