Mike and Eileen’s Story

updated at 2:54 pm, October 10, 2017

“Our family and friends said go for it!  It will be lovely to have another member of the family”

With five children and 17 grandchildren, any couple in their mid-60s would be quite rightly looking forward to retiring, putting up their feet and doing the things they really wanted to.

The first two points couldn’t be said for Shropshire husband and wife team, Mick, aged 60, and Eileen Webster, aged 62.  But when it comes to doing something they really wanted to, Mick and Eileen decided that fostering would make the difference to their lives.

Eileen explained: “When Mick and myself were made redundant in 2009, we saw it as an opportunity to do something we really wanted to; with our big family and love of family life, we decided to explore the idea of fostering.  We did some initial research on the Internet and our journey began!”

The couple chose Foster Carers Associates, the UK’s largest independent fostering agency – or FCA – based on the support and training it offered and its unrivalled experience in doing the very best for a young person’s future.

In total, the process to be vetted and approved by FCA took around eight months culminating in an interview before of panel of 12 people.  As is common with all applications it also included a series of police and family checks as well as an in-depth investigation into family history.

The support we received

According to Mick, the support and backing they have received from their family and friends has been invaluable to them.  He said: “When we first talked to our nearest and dearest about our decision to foster, we weren’t sure of the reaction we would receive.  We were therefore delighted to receive such positive feedback.  In essence, our friends said ‘go for it!’ and our family said how much they would like another child in the family.  This confirmed to us that we were doing the right thing.  Since then, all the people who we have met have said we are doing a fantastic job which is very humbling indeed.”

The couple began their foster caring roles by looking after children for respite periods whilst their carers had a break; these included a girl of 12 years old for a week, a girl of 15 years old for a week and also a boy of the same age also for one week.

Mick and Eileen then decided that the time was right for a long term foster care placement.  Amy, then aged just six years old, has now been with them for six years and is now 13 years old.

One of four siblings – two have been fostered and one adopted – Amy endured a very disturbing start to her young life.

How we overcame the challenges

Although there are challenges to overcome – Eileen mentions Amy’s past, behavioural problems, mood swings, the tears and frustrations – she is more than enthusiastic about being a foster carer.

She explained: “Our fostering experience has been a huge learning curve but absolutely well worth it.  We are well supported by the FCA, have an excellent social worker and a fantastic group of other foster carers who we can share our experiences with; we also attend a group once a month called Reflect, led by a therapist and attended by other foster carers.”

One of their best fostering moments was after a normal family shopping trip; Amy said, “Mum, are we going home now?”  Eileen said: “We knew then that Amy felt safe with us; it was a very happy day.”

Mick concluded: “Our advice to anyone who is considering fostering is to go ahead and embrace it.  Of course children who are cared for by foster carers have their issues but there is so much back up and support from the FCA and, importantly, other carers in our network.  It is worth the ups and downs!

“In essence, Amy has become one of our children and at the heart of our family.”

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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  • 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.
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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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