Parveen and Imraz look back over their first 12 months of fostering with FCA.
What made you consider fostering?
We had wanted to foster for several years after being exposed to fostering when my older sister started fostering but we did not have a spare room. As we were both working we felt we would not be able to dedicate the time required to fostering. In 2020 with the Covid pandemic Imraz became a permanent homeworker and we had some savings so decided to extend our property to add a further two bedrooms. Once we had this additional space and with work now being from home we felt we could now offer the time and effort required for fostering and therefore began our fostering assessment. We have always wanted to do something that would make a positive difference to people and after raising our own children we decided that we wanted to help children that were in care have the same family orientated upbringing that our children had.
Why did you choose to foster with FCA?
Two of my sisters were already with FCA and they both recommended that we join FCA as we would get a lot of support. We were also thinking that if we all worked for the same agency we could share tips and attend joint events with both our own and any placed children. When looking at the FCA website we found a lot of positive information on the website and therefore we decided to proceed with FCA.
How did you prepare your home for a child to arrive?
Apart from the extension which gave us two spare rooms to be able to foster we made sure that once we knew the children that were going to be placed with us we prepared for their arrival. For the two year old we brought and setup a new cot, an age appropriate child seat, stroller and made sure the house was safe for a toddler who was likely to run around a lot. For the five year old we brought Disney bed covers (we spoke to her local authority social worker to learn about her likes) and allowed her to choose where she would put her personal photographs in the bedroom. For both children we brought a welcome present and had prepared party food for their arrival.
Over the next few weeks we made any changes required to help them settle into their new home.
How would you describe your first year of fostering?
Our first year in fostering has been very enjoyable. We have learnt a lot and even though at times it has been challenging we have enjoyed every minute of it and have absolutely no regrets. We have had two lovely children placed with us and watching them settle in and then grow both academically, in confidence and stature has been very rewarding and we feel that we have made a positive impact to their lives. We have also done short periods of respite and that has also been very enjoyable and successful.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of fostering?
Fostering is very rewarding but it does become part of everything you do so you need to be prepared to integrate foster children fully into your household. By this we mean that when you foster it is not just a 9-5 role because the children will be with you 24/7 and therefore anything you do will need to take into their needs as well. At first it can feel a little strange having new people in the house and you having to make adjustments to your routines, however quite quickly the children become part of your family life. If you can it is good to have a large support network around you (we are lucky as we have two sisters who are foster parents as well as a 21 year old son who can help with childcare) as sometimes inevitably you will either need a break or have to attend a an event where you need help with childcare.
Also be prepared for the assessment process as although there is nothing difficult within it, it is a very thorough process where you will be asked about your whole life from birth to now, including all relationships you have had and all significant events in your life.
Having been fostering for a year we feel that we have been supported well by FCA and specifically our Supervising Social Worker. We have enjoyed the journey so far and look forward to welcoming many more children to our home in the future.
If you are thinking about fostering and have the space then we would say go for it as when you start to see the positive impact you are making to children’s lives you will get such a warm feeling that cannot be described.
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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.