It was my earlier life and up bringing that motivated me to go into fostering. I had been working in factories for most of my career, and I felt like a change of direction – I wanted to work with people rather than machines.
After discussing with my wife, we agreed that it was the right time for our family to make this change. Our children were moving out and setting up their own homes, and we had the bedroom space to offer to a young person.
We are fairly newly approved, and have had two placements in total. Our first placement was a fourteen year old boy. When we got the phone call we went through every emotion – anxiety, panic, happiness, excitement. We were gong to have a complete stranger come and live in our home!
We had been given information about him which had been sent by his social worker, so we had made some preparations for his arrival based on what we knew. When he arrived we were so conscious about making him feel welcome and settled in his new home.
This was a short term placement which only lasted a few weeks, before he moved on to another type of placement. We didn’t wait long till we got a phone call about our second placement, a twelve year old girl. We still went through all the emotions, but felt much better prepared after already experiencing the first placement.
At the moment, the girl we have in placement is not in education as the local authority are yet to decide what the long term plan for her is going to be. She is currently having one to one tutoring with the Safehouses teacher between 10am and 12pm. What I have found is that no two placements are the same. Our first placement involved a lot of motivating, as the young person lacked confidence and self-esteem. Our current placement has involved a lot of reassurance and emotional comforting. The young person arrived under a lot of stress, and has taken time to come down from that.
We keep in regular contact with our supervising social worker, and attend meetings to discuss care planning. It has taken some time for her to settle with us, as when she arrived, she was insistent that she wanted to live with her family. We are at the stage now where I feel I can confidently say she is happy to be living with us, but we are yet to find out what the plan for her future is. It has been such a rewarding experience to see her dare to trust, laugh and be happy again.
Right now, we are enjoying the time we spend with her, and making sure she feels part of our family.
If you would like more information on a career as a Foster Carer please visit www.safehousesfostering.org.uk or telephone 08453 700 247.