Jackie’s story

Archived: Posted April 25, 2016

Jackie O’Connor from Bromley has been fostering for three years. Many foster carers can pinpoint the moment that they began the hugely rewarding journey into foster care and for Jackie, the lightbulb moment happened whilst on holiday with her husband in Turkey.

“Having worked in catering all my life, doing long hours and working most weekends, I decided it was time for a change. I knew I wanted to do something different but had no idea what. I’d considered all sorts of things, including various different kinds of charity work. I’ve always loved children, my own are all grown-up now, and whilst lying on a sun bed it just hit me – maybe I could become a foster carer? I broached it with my husband right away and he was surprised but incredibly supportive.

Foster care

“I started looking into it the day we got back and it snowballed from there really. We contacted Foster Care Associates (FCA) and they came right back to us, arranging for someone to come and see us at home. They were really helpful, enthusiastic and supportive through it all. At every stage my husband and I would say to each other “let’s just see how it goes”, knowing that we could still turn back if we wanted. It was only after we both completed the initial four day course that we turned to each other and realised that we were still here and we were really going to do this.

“Becoming a foster carer has been just as life-changing for us as it has been for the children we’ve been looking after. We’re so proud of the progress we’ve seen in the attitudes, confidence and abilities of our placement children. Fostering can be very emotional and is not without its challenges but it’s so rewarding that it’s more than worth it. When you can see a child’s potential, you become so motivated to do everything you can to help them achieve it. Inevitably, there are moments when your heart breaks a little – many of the children that require placements will have been through a lot in their short lives and will have issues, big and small, that they need your help to work through. But it’s incredible the effect care, support and a safe, secure family environment can have.

“We currently have our first long-term placement, a lovely 11-year-old boy that will be with us for a least the next seven years. By that time my husband will be at retirement age. I’ve been so thankful for his support over the past few years – I couldn’t have done it without him. When I speak to new carers I always tell them how important it is to build a support network around themselves – whether that be of friends, family or other foster carers.

“Through Foster Care Associates I’ve had the opportunity to meet lots of other foster carers – at support groups as well as at all the training sessions. I’ve been on 15 courses so far and all the training I’ve had has been really helpful in preparing me to cope with the challenges of fostering. My other piece of advice is always to get as much training as you can! FCA have definitely got the right idea about that – there are always courses you can go on.”

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.

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

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.

Share This With A Friend