Behind Angie and Andy’s Door

Archived: Posted June 19, 2017

‘’We get through challenging days knowing that we are part of a great community changing the lives of children and young people.’’ 

Meet Angie and Andy Cheeseman from Bournemouth who have been foster carers with Foster care Associates (FCA) for almost a decade.

From the age of 22 Angie always wanted to be a foster carer but a life threatening illness delayed her fostering journey with FCA. Proving that it’s never too late to foster, not only has Angie been caring for children and young people for the last nine years but she is a volunteer carer representative, a foster carer mentor and is heavily involved in the FCA carer recruitment process too. She said:

‘’I’ve wanted to be a foster carer since I was 22 but It was that same year I was diagnosed and needed to be treated for cervical cancer.  Years later my husband Andy and I were watching TV and a fostering advert appeared. This reminded me of my desire to foster but later that week my decision was cemented when Andy showed me an FCA advert in our local newspaper.  Andy encouraged me to follow my dream and we decided that it was time to begin our fostering journey.

‘’Seeing the FCA advert encouraged us to make contact and from there we didn’t need to look any further. We were really happy with the person we initially spoke to and the information we received, within that week we made up our minds to foster with FCA and haven’t looked back since.’’

Fostering with children of your own

Angie and Andy have four birth children, all of whom supported their decision to foster right from the get go. Two of their eldest have now left home and one of Angie’s daughters is now her full time support carer. Before Andy and Angie became foster carers their children were used to them looking after others and their caring nature. Angie said:

‘’I’ve always had a passion for looking after young people as prior to being a full time carer with FCA I hosted foreign exchange students for twelve years. In this time I welcomed more than 600 students ranging from aged 11-18 into my home. Our birth children have always grown up around people from different backgrounds and walks of life.

‘’Whilst fostering with FCA we have looked after children on a long term basis, up to six years, mother and baby placements, teenagers, and offered emergency care for children and young people in urgent need of a home.

‘’In our experience fostering has its ups and downs. Our friendship circle has halved as we’ve had to adapt our lifestyles to accommodate our new family members and we’ve experienced some challenging situations. Our true friends however have remained loyal and we’ve made a host of new friends through FCA and these challenging situations I’m referring to almost always have a solution. 

‘’Andy and I have often found that there’s always a reason behind why a young person might behave in a certain way. It is so important to sit the young person down and talk to them. Talk to them about why they’re acting the way they are, their feelings and how you are able to move forward in the situation. It is so rewarding when you come to an agreement and understanding with the young person in your care, it feels like a great achievement rather than giving up on them. ‘’

Angie describes the kind of support she has received over the nine years from Foster Care Associates and talks about how she has taken this on board and inspired her to support new foster carers. She said:

‘’I cannot fault FCA at all. I’ve received so much support over the years. Whether it be the training sessions, the FCA therapist I visit once a month or out of hour’s line with someone always on the other end of the phone to confide in, the support has been endless.

‘’I believe it’s important to keep all of your skills and training records up to date, I am always interested in learning new techniques and sharing them with the new carers I represent and mentor. I love fostering. I am very passionate about caring for children and young people, and encouraging and teaching others to do so as well.’’

Fostering Moments

The couple also shared some of their best fostering moments with us. Angie said:

‘’One of our long term fostering placements is a constant reminder that we made the right decision to foster. With our support he gained 7 GCSE’s, full school attendance and has now gone on to complete an apprenticeship programme.  He is an absolute credit to our family and fostering experience as a whole.

‘’I still keep in contact with my previous mother and baby placement and recently Andy and I were completely taken aback by a request we received from her. She called us to say she was getting married and asked if Andy would walk her down the aisle and give her away at her wedding. We knew she always saw me as a mother figure but we were incredibly surprised and overwhelmed by this request, of course Andy accepted and we cannot wait to be a part of her special day.

‘’Fostering isn’t for everyone, be as informed as possible before you make a decision to dedicate your life to children and young people. It’s best to hear first-hand about the fostering experience so speak to current foster carers and find out about the pro’s and con’s. We have our ups and downs but always get through challenging days knowing that we are part of a great community changing the lives of children and young people.’’ 

 

Why you should foster? 

(written by the young person currently in placement with the Cheeseman’s)

Fostering is where a family take on the responsibility to offer a loving and secure home to an under privileged child, the role of looking after a foster child is just like looking after a child of your own as you will welcome them into your home and treat them like their one your own and try to improve their life and giving them a 2nd start in life as they may not of had a great start. Fostering is very rewarding and gives you a great satisfaction as you have improved this young person from being broken inside to someone who is like any other child and not every job can offer that.

The past year for me as a foster child has being very crucial from leaving school and being frightened of not passing my GCSEs, but luckily I did, and that gave me a humungous boost in confidence as I felt like I couldn’t  pass the exams. My Carer has been a huge part of me getting good grades in my exam as she has had confidence in me when I felt low and felt like I couldn’t complete these exams and boosted me to believe in myself. I am now looking to become a social worker and give back what I have revived and offer support to young people who like me didn’t have a great start in life.

From this you can see a foster carers role is very important to a under privileged child in becoming a better person, so if you are thinking of being a foster carers and feel you could improve a child’s  life please do.

How can we help?

Ready to start fostering a child or young person? Or just want a bit more information to help you decide whether fostering is for you? All you need to do is contact us.

Phone us

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.

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Phone us

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.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Call me back

Haven't got time to chat now? Leave your details and we'll call you back at a time that suits you:

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • Why do we need this? So we can email you a brochure.
  • Why do we need this? We appreciate that starting to foster is a big decision that needs careful consideration and you are likely to have questions. We’d like to help answer those questions.
  • Please enter your postcode to see news and events in you area
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

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