Mascha & David
This is what family, friends and work colleagues asked us when we spoke to them about our intention to become foster carers. Reasons for people to become foster carers are varied; wanting to give a foster child the opportunity to benefit from parenting skills gained looking after birth children, wanting to give a place to a child in need in a good home without having had children themselves, giving something back to the community or looking for a career change that is rewarding and gives personal fulfilment.
In my family, I was the main driver for wanting to foster a child. I have had different roles in life but my most rewarding, without a doubt has been that of being a mother. With one daughter studying abroad and another about to fly the nest, I felt the time was right to take this new direction.
I had a friend who was a foster carer, her positive experience gave me the confidence to go down the same route. I did some research and spoke to various professionals before I decided to apply through Capstone, an independent fostering agency because they offer great support.
First, we were assessed by a Capstone Social Worker. The process was ‘enjoyable but probing’, it involved being asked personal questions to fully understand your background and motives. The different stages of the process also helped us to reflect on the direction we were taking.
Throughout the assessment process, we were invited to training sessions which have specifically been developed to give a very useful insight into understanding some of the behaviour displayed by children and young adults who come into care. I learnt a lot from this, some of which I wish had known about before I had my own children.
After we were approved at panel, which was not nearly as scary as we thought it could be, we waited a short while before we had our first placement. Capstone showed us the profiles of several suitable children and it was not long before they matched us with a lovely sixteen-year-old girl. She was only going to stay with us for a short while but she has been very happy here and she has now been part of our family for over one year. It has been a delight to watch her grow in confidence and become an independent young adult, finding her own way in life.
Overall, it has been a very rewarding experience for us. Of course, there have been some difficult moments but when those moments occurred I have always been able to pick up the phone and ask advice from my Supervising Social Worker or his colleagues, any time of the day or night! It has always been reassuring to know that somebody at Capstone would be there at the other end of the line.
When you are reading this, and you are considering becoming a foster carer, take a deep breath, pick up the phone and ring Capstone to further your enquiry. I am so glad I did!