Although Nicky and James had children of their own, they had always thought about fostering and were open about with their sons. It was during the Syrian refugee crisis that they made the choice to start their fostering journey and look after unaccompanied asylum seekers.
It was during the Syrian refugee crisis that we really started to consider it further and both James and I have a background in youth work, which gave us the confidence in feeling capable of looking after older children. We did a Google search and came across Capstone Foster Care and after speaking to a few others we decided to get in touch. We were particularly interested in helping unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, which Capstone offer.
So far, we have had 3 Sudanese boys aged 15, 16 and 17. When it came to our first placement, we suddenly felt an overwhelming sense of responsibility. We were now the ones that were going to be looking after this young person and at first, we were eager to try and fix everything like we were going to be his ‘forever family’ which is not necessarily the case and we began to realise that with the second and third placement.
These children have already been through terrible trauma in their short lives and the best thing we could do is to help bring some stability and normality. Fostering unaccompanied and asylum-seeking children is different to other types of fostering placements. At first, the language barrier and cultural difference is huge. However, these can be easily overcome with patience and persistence and you can soon see them blossoming and growing in confidence.
It’s been more difficult than we thought but also far more rewarding! Our own two boys have stepped up. It’s not just ‘mum and dad’ fostering, we are doing it as a family. Seeing our boys get involved and help these young people has been the highlight of fostering for us. Just little things like playing football with them and including them in things has really helped them to settle in. Our kids have something to offer too and it’s lovely to see them growing in confidence and seeing their outlook on life change. They are more aware that there are other children out there less fortunate than themselves and we believe this has been a rich experience for them and helped them to become more considerate and shaped their character.
The support we have received from Capstone has been excellent. Our supervising social worker has been really supportive, keen to get to know us and help us make decisions that work for the whole family. They go above and beyond to ensure we feel supported in helping these young people in our care, which is invaluable.
That being said, we would definitely recommend Capstone to friends and family. We were impressed from the very start with the initial phone call. We could tell that they didn’t just take on anyone. Karen came and met us, and she was great. She was very thorough and was able to answer all of our questions and asked us a lot of questions too.
We were then assigned a social worker who came to see us regularly and asked quite intrusive questions but in a comfortable way. We were very relaxed talking to him and whilst the process was long, it was reassuring that they were so thorough in making sure we were the right type of people to be foster parents and knew what we were getting into! The training was excellent. There was even some flexibility with us attending other venues if we couldn’t make certain dates or times and we found the quality and delivery of them to be very good.
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