Looking back now it seems inevitable that Mandy would become a foster parent. She was raised by an exceptionally kind mother who had an open door policy, and adopted the same way of life herself in her adult years.
Mandy said: “My mother has always been very caring and nurturing, and always looked after everybody else’s children. I grew up in an environment where everyone was welcome. Even my husband Simon moved in with us after we’d been together for just 6 weeks. My mum opened the door and that was that.”
Looking back now it seems inevitable that Mandy would become a foster parent. She was raised by an exceptionally kind mother who had an open door policy, and adopted the same way of life herself in her adult years. Mandy said: “My mother has always been very caring and nurturing, and always looked after everybody else’s children. I grew up in an environment where everyone was welcome. Even my husband Simon moved in with us after we’d been together for just 6 weeks. My mum opened the door and that was that.”
Simon’s family also has a history of fostering, and so together they were surrounded by a wealth of fostering experience, and the desire to make a difference. Mandy and Simon’s route to becoming foster parents wasn’t the easiest.
They endured some challenges, survived a case of abuse within their family and supported someone close to them after a life-changing incident. After going through such traumatic incidents, the couple decided that they wanted to use their knowledge and experience to help others who have been through similar situations. Mandy said: “As parents, unless you have experienced abuse yourself you can’t begin to imagine what it feels like. Simon and I had so much to give and we wanted to help others as much as we could, and the training and support we have been given from FCA have helped us to talk to each other too, because we never really dealt with what happened.”
After those initial hesitations, Mandy and Simon have now been fostering for 12 years, and they have welcomed a huge variety of placements into their home, supporting children aged between 0 - 18, mother-child placements and sibling placements too. About fostering different types of placements, Mandy said: “It really doesn’t matter to us as long as they match with our family. Our daughter is an only child and has always been great with the kids that we have had, she always calls herself their foster sister as long as they are happy with that. We also have a grandson and he always loves having other children to play with.
“At the moment we are looking after a sibling group who are 13 and 7, and our grandson is also 7. They are inseparable and it’s just lovely. Being foster parents provides us with so many lovely situations as a family.”
Mandy describes fostering as ‘rewarding but challenging’ and said that no matter who she looks after, and their situation, she always praises the positive. FCA runs achievement awards on a yearly basis, and Mandy takes great pride in nominating her foster children for awards. So far, 3 of the children that she has taken care of have won the overall education award. Mandy said: “I try to encourage the children to achieve, and learn, and do the best that they can, and it’s really great to see. One of the children I’m caring for at the moment has read all of the reading materials in his school, loves sharing facts and constantly wants to read. He said when he’s older he wants to be a Palaeontologist and I had to Google what it meant!”
Mandy recognises that there are lots of ups and downs when you are a foster parent, children come from challenging backgrounds, have difficult relationships with their families, or for one reason or another, sometimes the placements just don’t work out. “It can be really hard when placements don’t work out the way you want them to, but you have to always consider what’s best for the child, and your own family. The emotional impact of these placements is massive, but you always have to choose the best option, no matter how hard it can be.” Mandy said.
Whilst there are difficulties, and emotionally trying times, Mandy thinks that the wonderful times always outweigh the difficult. She spoke about a particular placement: “We had one little boy, who originally came with his brother, but they were later separated. The young boy didn’t have much self-esteem, and he thought that his brother was good and he was not, and he particularly struggled with their separation.
“One day, he received a certificate from school for 100% attendance, and a glowing report, and he said ‘this is all thanks to you Mandy.’ I told him that we had done it together, but when they can recognise that they have achieved something amazing, like he did, it means the world to me” said Mandy, continuing: “Breakthroughs like that are the reason that we do what we do!”
“There are so many opportunities within fostering, and to give a child the loving home that they need is wonderful, and that’s why we started. We wanted to help less fortunate children believe in themselves. They can come to you with such low self-esteem, so we just want to show them love and care and give them the things they didn’t have access to before.” Mandy explained.
When asked what advice she would give to anyone looking into fostering, Mandy said: “Try your best to include them in your family, and there will be so many rewards when you do. They will give you so much in return, you will get some kids who have their barriers up for a long time, and eventually they might give you one hug, and you think: ‘oh, I am doing something right!’”
The right style of foster care for you
We provide several types of fostering to ensure we meet each child and young person’s requirements and match the foster children with the best type of foster home for their situation. Some children and young people may just need fostering for a few nights, while others need a more permanent family environment.
Welcome a child or young people who need to be looked after in temporary basics anywhere between 1 or 2 nights, a few weeks or months.
This is where you invite a child into your home on a long term basis, providing a stable family home to a child for many years.
Parent & child
Where a parent often a mother and their baby, comes to stay with you. Usually last for last around 12 weeks.
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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