"My own children have grown to be really caring people because of it. All of the children we have cared for over the years are still in touch with us and they often come to me when they need advice and support, just like my own children do."
I grew up seeing my mum’s neighbour fostering and I loved watching her care for and then eventually adopt a young girl who lived with them. We were friends and I remember listening to the stories when I was a teenager about why she was in foster care. Once I had my own home, I thought why not give a child in need a nice, happy and loving home and, help them to feel safe.
We have five birth children and we manage really well. Our children love being part of a fostering family. They were small when we started on our fostering journey and have always been very involved.
When they were little, were keen to make sure that they shared anything they had with the foster children in our home. One night I checked to see why one of my (older) daughters was still awake at midnight the other night and it was so she would be the first to text one of our previous foster children a happy birthday!
We have been foster carers for around 13 years and have cared for 32 children during that time. We have taken on all different types of placements over the years. We’ve never had a preference and love each and every placement that comes into our care equally.
One boy that that came to us when he was 14 and stayed with us until he was 21. He was incredibly shy and quiet when he first came. He was a very calm boy and spent a lot of time on his laptop. Over the years he has grown to be a bubbly and confident young man. He went on to marry one of my cousins (my uncle’s daughter) and he now has two beautiful daughters. He still visits me with his girls, and he is a big part of our family.
I know that some people worry about becoming foster carers because of having to say goodbye, but that isn’t always the case. I wanted to share this story as I am so proud of all of the children I have cared for, and this goes to show that there isn’t always a sad goodbye. When as a foster carer, you build trust over time and give your love and care as you do with your own children, you find that more often than not, the children you have cared for want to stay in contact.