"It’s beyond words when you have really helped a child"
- Fostering Stories
Claire and Andy have been fostering for 15 years, and during that time they have cared for children of all ages, some for as long as 4 and a half years and recently for a baby for just two nights!
They were recently nominated for a special recognition award by their fostering social worker Elaine for their kindness, sensitivity and understanding when reuniting children with their birth parents and adoptive parents.
We loved hearing why Claire and Andy are so passionate about fostering
I don’t think you’d get the rewards from any other job like you do from that bond you have with a child. You can just see it in their face, and you just know. It’s beyond words when you have really helped a child.
Claire and Andy
Their stories are so different, and they are all so unique, it starts as a sitting back getting to know them process. We interpret what we see and find a way to build trust and a rapport with the children.
The longer they are with you, the more chance to you have to develop that bond. When they move on, it is upsetting, but it’s testament to how much you’ve cared for that child and how much you’ve given to them.
The way we approach fostering is always about what’s best for the child, so as much as we love having them here, when they have moved on to adoption or back to family, we’ve always known it was best for the child.
It doesn’t have to be a final goodbye.
We’ve been lucky to have stayed in touch with the children we’ve fostered, so we can see them progress and turn into the people they become.
We keep in touch with the child who has recently been reunited with his mum after being with us for four and a half years. We get on really well with his Mum and we still support her now. The child comes over for a sleepover every week and it’s as if he’s never been away!
When another little boy moved on to adoption, we got to know his adopters and instantly knew it would work out. He was such a giving young lad, and they were so enthusiastic and so wanting to adopt, it was a great match.
That was 5 years ago and they’ve become great friends and we meet up regularly.
It’s like having lots of nieces and nephews all over the place!
If they are moving on to a place where they are really wanted and loved and you know it’s a good outcome, you can only feel joy for them.
The variety is what makes fostering so exciting. The children are all so different and they’re all great characters and you get the chance to work with lots of different professionals.
Claire and Andy
There’s a lot of myths about fostering.
We find the thing that links you with the parents is that they love the children. It’s been that way in all of our experiences, and it’s been circumstances that have brought the children into care. We’ve always been respectful and non-judgemental of birth parents. We’ve not walked in their shoes. It’s about trying to all work together for what’s best for the child.
Advice for anyone thinking of fostering
There really is a desperate shortage of foster carers. If you can focus on the skills you have to care for a child, and just give a child a home and it just seems to fall into place.
Our supporting social worker is fantastic! She has lots of experiences and we know without a shadow of a doubt there’s a whole team supporting us.
When they move on, it is upsetting but it’s testament to how much you’ve cared for that child and how much you’ve given to them. There’s no job that can teach you as much about yourself as fostering. Every child teaches us something different.
I think anyone should give it a try, I really wish they would do because the rewards are beyond words. It I have my time again, I wouldn't change a thing.
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