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Fostering for me is now a way of life

Foster carer Anne from the North East has been fostering for 20 years.

October 6 2020 - 2 min read

“In a previous life I was police officer, but left the force when I married and had my own children. Over the years my children grew into teenagers, my husband and I divorced and my two sons were living between their father and I. In a local newspaper I saw an advert promoting a new scheme for young people who had found themselves in the justice system and were looking at remand in custody. I just thought to myself I could do this, the law and the court process didn’t faze me.

I talked things over with my parents and my sons, who asked me if I was sure, I wasn’t, but then being a single parent meant there were lots of uncertainties anyway so thought I would apply to become a foster carer.

I started the assessment which I really enjoyed as it gives you insight into your life and events that had occurred that make you into the person you are. I thought of my own two sons, if I was approved then I would be able to be at home, and I hoped the impact on my sons would be positive.

On the 1st January 1995 , I was approved by panel after undergoing a ten-week induction course. I starting fostering through my local authority and when the team manager moved to FCA I decided to take a leap of faith and moved to FCA too.

Throughout my 20 years of fostering, there have been many wonderful fostering moments but the one that is imprinted on my heart is when a little boy of two, who had been born at 27 weeks and had been in my care since his discharge from hospital, was adopted by his forever family just after his second birthday. I am still in touch with them and he is thriving. I feel that I was so privileged to be part of this little boy’s life.

Another one of my best moments was when a young man who I fostered for eight years married a local girl and settled in my home town, and I am still part of their lives, many years after he left care. They have just celebrated their ninth wedding anniversary.

I have done just about every type of placement. For most of my fostering journey I have looked after adolescents. Along side these placements I have had an interest in parent and child placements and pre-adoption work. Now I now just focus on parent and child, and pre-adoption placements.

I feel there have been many challenges along the road I have travelled. On the other side there have been many highlights. Seeing young people I had fostered long term become adults, forge their own pathways, but keeping you in their inner circle and checking in. Preparing children for adoption and their forever families. Recently I had a couple of parent and child foster placements with mums seeking asylum, which were more complicated due to Home Office involvement. A challenge can be keeping up with changes, as the years roll by, technology has moved on and not being computer minded it has been tough keeping up. But I have and continue to embrace the changes as for me fostering is a way of life.

I have been very lucky with the support I have had from FCA over the years. I have very good professional support from my supervising social worker. I know other staff will do anything they can to support not only me but my placements. Support from other foster carers is always encouraged and I like to support other foster carers too. I am FCA through and through, and feel part of a family and which I really liked.

My advice to new foster carers is you have chosen a pathway of many twists and turns, with challenges around every corner, but if you believe that you can make a difference to a child or young person’s life then you can, and just do it.  Never forget that you don’t foster alone and that you are part of a team.

Fostering for me is now a way of life, and I am FCA through and through. I would be totally devastated if I could no longer do this task, as I believe it does make a huge difference to children and young people and their lives”.

Anne’s advice to anyone interested in becoming a foster carer is don’t think about it for too long, speak to someone, ask questions and if you feel that you and your family could do it, then go for it.

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