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“We always tell our children, they’re loved, and that tomorrow is a new day”

Foster parent, Joanna Frost, who has been fostering for over a decade shares her fostering experience, her approach to care and the importance of family.

November 2 2021 - 4 min read

Embarking on her fostering journey with her partner around 14 years ago, Joanna felt she was in the need of a new adventure. With their children grown up and moved out, Joanna said: “We had done all the travelling and all the things we wanted to do. We had our own business, and fostering was something that I had thought about for a long time.

Initially providing respite care, this was when the couple first met one of their placements, *Joe and Tim*. With a history of being in and out of the care system, the couple were keen on looking after boys and fostering siblings. Joanna shared: “Perhaps it was because I had two young boys myself but soon after fostering, we realised we had a mutual connection with boys and the rest has been history.”

In Joanna’s experience, boys will be boys. Understanding first-hand how brothers live together, Joanna said: “With one of the boys having learning difficulties and a speech impediment, communication was difficult at times. Both did struggle to communicate their feelings and anger. Despite their own arguments, they equally clung to each other. It was like one couldn’t live without the other.”

After the young boys had experienced a failed adoption and their primary foster parent was retiring, Joanna and her partner, Steve, sat down and thought why not become their full-time foster parents. Joanna said: “At first, this placement tested our strengths and made us really consider if fostering was right for us but in the end, love conquers all and we came together as a family and managed to make it work for us.”

Over the course of a decade, Joanna has welcomed many children into their home. Looking back, Joanna shared that during the time of caring for siblings, she had also welcomed a mother and child placement into her home. Joanna said: “While it sometimes felt like a hotel, we were still one big family. For us, fostering provides us this new extended family unit. Our family has always treated our foster children the same as our own.”

A good support network makes a world of difference. Joanna said: “While there are many highs and lows of fostering, the support of my husband, FCA and my extended family and friends have bolstered me to become the best foster parents we could be.”

Teenage boys and siblings often have a stigma of being too hard to handle but for Joanna, this has only made the experience that more special.

In Joanna’s experience, boys will be boys. Understanding first-hand how brothers live together, Joanna said: “With one of the boys having learning difficulties and a speech impediment, communication was difficult at times. Both did struggle to communicate their feelings and anger. Despite their own arguments, they equally clung to each other. It was like one couldn’t live without the other.”

After the young boys had experienced a failed adoption and their primary foster parent was retiring, Joanna and her partner, Steve, sat down and thought why not become their full-time foster parents. Joanna said: “At first, this placement tested our strengths and made us really consider if fostering was right for us but in the end, love conquers all and we came together as a family and managed to make it work for us.”

Drawing from their experience, one way to help teenagers is to help channel their emotions through physical activities. Joanna said: “From the beginning my husband has always run football teams and tried to encourage the boys to get involved. With his own love of bodybuilding, Steve soon realised how this was helping improve one of our boys’ anger and confidence. Initially struggling with school, after getting involved in sports, he truly began to thrive.”

For Joanna, one of the most rewarding parts of fostering has been seeing the positive change it can bring to young people’s lives. Joanna shared: “After the boys left school, Joe got an apprenticeship with my birth son as an electrician. Tim got one a job as a caretaker through my husband’s line of work and this has allowed Steve to manage Tim and support him as he begins to live more independently even with his additional needs.

“It has been really rewarding to see the children you’ve looked after grow into working, responsible adults despite their challenges.”

“Something I have always told our children is that they’re loved, and that tomorrow is a new day.”

Why choose FCA

Thinking about starting your fostering journey?

24/7 local support, excellent ongoing training and competitive allowances are just a few of the reasons why you should choose FCA for your fostering journey.

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