Meet Angie and Andy from the South East who have been foster FCA with Foster Care Associates for well over a decade.
From the age of 22 Angie always wanted to be a foster parent but a life threatening illness delayed her fostering journey with FCA. Proving that it’s never too late to foster.
‘’I’ve wanted to be a foster parent 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.’’
Angie and Andy have four birth children, all of whom supported their decision to foster right from the get go. Two of their eldest are no longer living in the family home and one of Angie's daughters is now her full time support carer. Before Andy and Angie became foster parents 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 foster parent 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 foster 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 years from Foster Care Associates and talks about how she has taken this on board and inspired her to support new foster parents. 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 or out of hour’s support 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 foster parents I meet. I love fostering. I am very passionate about caring for children and young people, and encouraging and teaching others to do so as well.’’
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.’’
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Lesley has been fostering with FCA for over 10 years, and has made a huge difference to the lives of two siblings who have been with her long term. She shares all about the support she’s received from FCA over the past decade.
“I’ve only got good things to say about the support, there is always someone at the end of the phone - day or night.”
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Meet foster parent Elaine who has been fostering for nearly a decade. She shares her advice to those thinking about fostering, and the first-class support she’s received from FCA throughout her journey.