Barbara and Tudor’s StoryArchived: Posted March 23, 2017
Barbara (60) and Tudor (66) Bosley from Trealaw in South Wales have been foster carers for 21 years. The couple started their fostering journey with the local authority and transferred to Foster Care Associates (FCA) for more support 12 years ago and have never looked back.
Barbara explains just how much fostering has changed over the years and why the couple became foster carers in the first place. She said: ‘’I started fostering because I grew up foster care myself, and on reflection I didn’t have the best experience at that time. I really wanted to help make a difference to children and young people who might be experiencing the same problems and feelings that I experienced at their age.
‘’Saying that fostering has drastically changed from the 60’s. It is totally different now compared to then, with so much more support and with a proper application process in place when it comes to recruiting new foster carers. All of these improvements are for the direct benefit of the children, many are so vulnerable and need the best support and care possible.
Fostering with FCA
‘’Tudor and I have fostered with FCA for 12 years now and have never looked back. We transferred from the local authority because we felt a lack of support at times, and whilst this feeling of dissatisfaction grew we happened to hear an FCA advert on the radio. We made an enquiry and absolutely loved what they had to offer. FCA in our experience are by far one of the best fostering agencies around due to the care and support packages they provide.’’
Barbara and Tudor have a birth son Leighton who is 39. When the couple first considered fostering, Leighton was 16 and he was their main priority. Barbara explains: ‘’The one person we had to talk to get on board with our decision to become foster carers was our son Leighton. At first he had several questions and was slightly apprehensive but we explained to him that other kids his age don’t have the same life that he has and are in desperate need of some support. He grew up around fostering in our home and is now our dedicated support, when needed.
‘’We’ve had a real mixture of placements over the years. Some of our very first placements included youth offenders and young people on probation waiting on court sentencing. Although this could sound daunting it really wasn’t. These children still needed a roof over their heads and as much support as possible, they’re often just kids that have fallen into the wrong crowd or have been influenced due to their backgrounds.
‘’At the moment we have one young person in our care. He is 16 years old and has been with us for nearly two years. He has quite complex needs and requires a high level of support, therefore he is placed independently.’’
Reactions to becoming a foster carer
Barbara describes the types of reactions the couple have received from people about their career in fostering over the years. She said: ‘’We live in a small community and have done so all our lives – everyone is aware that Tudor and I are foster carers. We’ve had some brilliant responses over the years with people admitting that this isn’t something they could do themselves, but sometimes people do assume these children are bad. We try to explain that it’s not the children’s fault at all, that they have just come from complicated backgrounds.
‘’For example, we have experienced some challenging situations especially in our early fostering days where there wasn’t the same level of support as there is today. When things happen with these children in your care it can be devastating but you just have to move on and not let it affect you. Even though we have looked after children from all walks of life in the past 21 years we have only ever needed to call 999 twice and in both situations the issue has been resolved and we were absolutely fine.
‘’We love fostering, we really do. I love my role as a foster carer. It’s not a job it’s a role. Whether that be the role of a parent, a teacher or simply someone just getting the young person through another day. These young people really have been around the block but eventually you will gain their trust. They just need to feel safe and supported.’’
How FCA have supported us
The couple describe the type of support they receive from FCA and the support Barbara gives as an FCA carer representative. She said: ‘’The support we have received from FCA over the years has been excellent. We could never fault them and their commitment to these children and young people. The Swansea office and all of its staff, social and support workers are incredible. They truly deserve so much praise. They are always there on the other side of the phone or available for a visit if you need them.
‘’What’s also great about FCA is that all of the foster carers support each other too. I have been a carer representative for FCA for four years now and the amount of love and support I have seen amongst the carers has been so inspirational.
‘’I simply can’t put into words how I feel. It can be really challenging but instead of crying I just laugh. You just need to move forward and focus on the young people’s needs. I would never say it’s easy but the rewards and the way this role will make you feel is amazing.’’
Barbara also talks about some of the memorable fostering moments her and Tudor have experienced over the years. She said: ‘’We have experienced so many incredible fostering moments over the years. I could go on forever. Just the other day the young person who is currently in our care came down the stairs and spoke to me. We were talking about the lottery for some reason and he said something to me that I will never forget; ‘Barbara If I ever win a million pound then I’d split half of the money with you and then I’d build a mansion that we could live in to say thank you for everything you have done for me.’
Advice for potential foster parents
‘’This comment really made me smile, it was so sweet and such an innocent thing for him to say. We have experienced so many of these types of moments. Just the other week we bumped into a young man who used to be in our care years and years ago. Back then he was a bit of the ‘Jack the lad’. He was in and out of school but we were always there and supported him. When we saw him in town he told us that he is now a plumber with his own van and is supporting himself and his girlfriend. The fact that he even remembered us was amazing let alone that he was standing on his own feet supporting himself. This gave us a real sense of purpose.
‘’If there was any type of advice we could offer new carers or anyone considering becoming foster carers it would be to always try to take into account that these children come from different walks of life to you. All you can do is try your best to work with them and to support them. Once you show that you understand them and can be patient they will open up to you. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.’’
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Fostering a child or young person is a big decision so we're here to answer any questions you may have. Our friendly fostering advisors, many of whom are carers themselves, can talk you through everything you need to know about becoming a foster carer.
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Call us on 0800 023 4561 (lines open Monday - Thurs: 9am - 7pm, Fri: 9am - 6pm)
Fostering a child or young person is a big decision so we,re here to answer any questions you may have. Our friendly fostering advisors, many of whom are carers themselves, can talk you through everything you need to know about becoming a foster carer.