Foster Care Spotlight:Phil & Emma

How long have you been Foster Carers?
We were approved to become foster carers in September 2019, and our first foster child arrived in the middle of December. So, it’s been six months so far.

Why did you want to be foster carer?
There are lots of reasons. We both grew up in hospitable households, where people often came to stay… and we’ve always tried to live this way too. We’ve both worked with children and young people over the years, and many of these have been vulnerable, which made us aware of the need for good carers. And after many conversations with friends and family who have adopted and fostered, we decided to go ahead with the training… and here we are.

How have you found being carers?
Challenging. Heart-breaking. Tiring. Stretching. An adventure. We’ve cried a few times but we’ve laughed loads too. Fostering was a whole family decision for us, but we knew that Emma and I would carry the weight of the responsibility. However, we didn’t anticipate how much of a team effort it would become and how much it would impact our family life in positive ways. We love the extended-family dinnertime conversations.

Have there being any unexpected challenges/pleasant surprises?
Lots. The case notes weren’t very comprehensive, and so we learned a lot of new stuff about T during his first few days with us. He’d also been in a few very short-term placements before he arrived with us, so he was understandably unsettled. And then it took a long time to get any education in place, mainly because of his additional needs, which meant that we were full-time for the first three months, with no respite. Having said all of that, there are ‘pleasant surprises’ every week… small improvements in behaviour, signs that he is feeling more settled.

How has lockdown impacted on fostering for you?
We already had T at home 24-7, so the ‘lockdown’ didn’t make a huge difference. However, educational support had just been agreed, and so it got moved online, which wasn’t easy to manage. The ‘lockdown’ probably affected us more than T in that it’s been harder for us to go out and get some respite.

Would you recommend fostering?
Yes. It’s not for everyone, of course, but it definitely has been for us. And the need for more foster carers is great.

Foster Care Spotlight: Mekonnen & Rahael

Why did you want to be a foster carer?

We wanted to help children who had come to the UK from other countries and cultures. We have friends who had been foster carers and had supported and looked after children and young people in similar circumstances and seeing them do it inspired to help and become foster carers ourselves. 

How have you found being a Foster Carer? 

We’ve fostered for over a year and it’s different to being a parent. The children that you foster may have had some really difficult experiences in their journey and may have lived in very different families to ours. We’ve learnt to approach things differently to how we did with our own children, perhaps coming from a different angle or asking a different way trying to understand the different culture or experience that they’ve had. 

It’s been rewarding to see the children develop healthy, close and appropriate relationships with our children. Specifically, my son is close in age to the young person that we foster and they enjoy each other’s company and share a passion for sports. It’s been really rewarding to do what we hoped we could and provide a young person with a home. 

Would you recommend fostering?

Yes, if you want to help children and feel that you have the time and space then I would definitely recommend fostering.