Sarah and Tim were approved as foster carers in August 2020. Both have a background in teaching and becoming a foster carer is something that Sarah has always wanted to do. Their first foster child; who was on his 4th placement in 2 years, has been with them for over 7 months now and is coming on leaps and bounds.
We were approved as foster carers in August 2020. I’d been a teacher for years and Tim used to be a secondary school teacher too. Tim and I are both Christians and when we initially thought about becoming foster carers, we worried that this might be an issue. Capstone were incredibly welcoming and encouraging about our faith, explaining that a church community can be a great source of support with fostering.
I’ve always thought about fostering, even as a teenager, I don’t know why as I’d had no experience of fostering and didn’t know anyone who had fostered before! It was just something I’d always wanted to do. During my career, I’ve come across more and more children that I’ve wanted to take home and care for. You know that they are struggling with their lives because of what’s going on at home and you can see they are just trying to get through each day, so schoolwork understandably isn’t high on the priority list.
At first, our children were concerned about the family dynamic changing and we of course all thought about the worst case scenarios. With our eldest having left home, our middle child going off to university, we all agreed our family dynamic was changing anyway, so this was as good as time as any to take that step.
When we received the call about our first placement, there was a mixture of excitement and apprehension. How was it going to be? What if he hates us? We found out that our home would be his 4th placement in 2 years. We arranged to meet with his previous carers (and him) in the park and were delighted when he took an instant liking to our dog and to Tim. It took much of the apprehension away for us and hopefully for him too.
He’s been with us for 7 months now and has come such a long way! He is supported by Capstone’s Multi-disciplinary Assessment Treatment & Therapy Service (MATTS) and his individual plan has helped him to settle in well.
When he first arrived he couldn’t express his emotions and feelings very well. We’ve worked really hard on that and he is now doing amazingly.
We can’t say it hasn’t been incredibly challenging, but the rewards and the feeling that you’re making a difference has definitely outweighed the difficult times. Knowing that you’re changing someone’s life for the better is just immeasurable.
The training with Capstone was absolutely great, more so than I could have imagined. I can ring my supervising social worker anytime for support and she’s always there for us. We have a weekly session with an educational psychologist as part of the MATTS service. The other week, we’d gone through a really tricky time and just needed to talk to someone who understood. They made time for us and as foster carers, you really do need that ongoing support.
…I would say to be prepared for the rigorous assessment process. It might feel intrusive as there’s no stone left unturned, but that process is so important in ensuring foster children are going to a safe and loving home. Taking that step to apply is scary and there will probably be some wobbly moments during the training as there was for us. Some of the learning is heart-wrenching and you suddenly doubt yourself and think “can we really do this?”.
But, if you can help just one foster child experience the love, warmth, joy and safety of a happy family home, then the rewards really are invaluable and for us completely outweigh everything else.
Have Sarah and Tim inspired you to want to take that step to become a foster carer? If you have a spare room in your home, then that’s the first thing ticked off the check list! If like Sarah and Tim you have experience in working with children as a teacher or in a similar role, we’d absolutely love to hear from you, as your experience is really invaluable to a foster child.
Thank you so much Sarah and Tim for sharing your experience.