Respite carers Heather and Andrew share their story

Heather and Andrew have been fostering with Liverpool for 15 months and have started their journey as respite foster carers.  Here’s their story so far…

Why is fostering important to you?

We wanted to build a different type of family. We had extra space and capacity in our life, and wanted to do something with that capacity that made a difference to our community by fostering. We wanted to say ‘our type of family may look a little different, but there are lots of ways to be a family in the world – one that includes our foster kids, for however long we have them.’

What are your hopes for the children you foster?

We hope that with our support, children can have a safe, nurturing place from which to grow and then to start to make sense of their life story – that all the things they have been through, those things can shape them into a resilient, strong, independent people, and that they can achieve happiness; to do whatever they want with their lives.

What gives you hope even when things are challenging?

We remind ourselves that some things worth doing in life are not easy, so to focus on your values and why you’re doing it. When you get through the challenging parts, you can look back and feel a sense of meaning – that you’ve helped to shape the world and impacted your community.

What has been your highlight so far?

We’re respite carers at the moment, and it’s rewarding to see the impact that you can have on a child even in a short time period. It can be a reset for the child. We had a child come to us who’d been struggling with his behaviours, but we used therapeutic caring techniques we’d learned to nurture him, and it really seemed to work – his social worker said that he left us like a different child. We remember having these silly dance parties in our front room, it was something we found we all liked to do – dancing in the front room, taking turns picking out the song, being silly – just helping him be a kid.

What do you like most about fostering?

The memories you build with the child are special – you have a bond with them for life, even if you don’t necessarily get to see them all the way through their journey. You know that you are a part of their life story, and hopefully, that you’ve been able to bring some positivity and happy memories in what is a challenging time for them.