Monday, 3 March 2014

“Fostering has always been a part of my life”

Have you ever considered fostering but just didn’t know where to start?  Emily, a mother of one, from Aylesbury has been fostering with Buckinghamshire County Council for 4 years and "would recommend fostering to anyone!"  Read Emily’s story below.

“My mum has been fostering for years so fostering has always been a part of my life and once I left home she kept badgering me to start fostering too!  

Fostering is one of the most rewarding jobs to have

I was at home with my 2 and half year old daughter, when my husband and I decided it was the right time for us to start. 

When I first got into fostering I didn’t quite realise why the children there needed looking after. I had to learn about all the different reasons why children might need foster care and that was a bit of a surprise. Children could have experienced neglect or abuse, so you do need to be aware of that but I did get a lot of training and support from the council which will prepare you for this as well as listening to foster carers that have experience. 

We foster 0-2 year olds as we live in a flat and they fit in with our family life. I think anyone can foster, they just need to be worldly wise and need to understand that children that come into fostering may need you to be a bit more patient and understanding of them.  If you have experience of working with children or even children of your own this will be a second nature to you. I was lucky to have a lot of experience with children as I was a Nanny, however I do believe anyone can do this.  

Fostering is one of the most rewarding jobs to have.  To see them smiling and making those important milestones - rolling over for the first time or taking their first steps - just melts your heart.  They are dependent on you and you are like their mum.  You are up in the night with them; you wash them, feed them and care for them and the bond you build and as you see them grow is the best reward. 

One of the children we looked after was a 4 week old baby who was born premature.  The doctors didn’t expect her to do very well, however during the time she was with us we gave her a loving home and all the attention and care we would our own daughter.  

"She left us just after her first birthday and during this time she developed better than anyone expected."

A lot of people think they can’t foster because they live in a flat, or their place is too small, they work or they are too old.  There are lots of myths out there which aren’t true.  My mum is a single parent and has been fostering for years.  We have a two bedroom flat and have been able to foster so many children during this time.  We also know other foster carers who are retired.  My advice to anyone thinking about fostering is talk to someone.  Whether it’s a social worker or an actual foster carer they will be able to help you with your decision.  

Making the first phone call can be daunting, but the rewards are huge.  I would recommend fostering to anyone. Just be patient as the process can take up to a year, don’t be afraid to ask questions and talk to people - someone who is already fostering or social workers to find out what it’s really like and if it’s for you.

"There’s plenty of children out there who just need love – love is easy to give.”

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Life Changing…..In A Good Way

Sharon and Richard struggled for years with fertility treatment, but a happy ending was in sight when they realised adoption really was for them.
Would we do it again? Absolutely!
"As with many adopters, adoption was the next natural step for us to consider after years of fertility treatment. Off we went to an information evening, decided it was something we wanted to go ahead with and arranged a home visit. The social worker who visited us was lovely and when she went, she left us with a DVD to watch which explained adoption and the process from an adopters point of view.

After watching the DVD, we realised that there was more to the adoption process than we had first thought and that we needed time to get over and accept everything we had been through up until then. We made a conscious decision that we would be childless and sold our house – that was always intended to be a family home - and moved to a town centre flat.

Some years later we each, separately, began to change our views on what we wanted from our lives. We sat down and realised that we both felt the same - something was missing from our lives and that something was a child. We were (finally) ready to consider adoption again.

It was a long and arduous journey and there were many times when we wondered why we were putting ourselves through it BUT in the back of our minds we kept thinking “stick with it…it’ll be worth it in the end". And it was.

Meeting our little boy (then 2 ½ yrs old) for the first time was amazing! He called us Mummy and Daddy from the outset and despite introductions being extended, he settled from the minute we brought him home. The first night was a very surreal experience – we sat on the sofa looking up at the ceiling saying “wow – this is it – we’re finally parents!”  and there was many an evening when one of us would be sat by his cot, just looking at this little boy, our son, with wonderment on our faces. Even today these are moments that still bring a tear to our eyes. Ten months later his adoption order was granted and he was legally ours.

A couple of years later, we decided it would be lovely for him to have a brother or sister. It would have been easy to have been put off by our experience first time round BUT we couldn’t have been more wrong. Our social worker was absolutely brilliant and the process much smoother and quicker than before.  We were encouraged to meet up with other adopters who had adopted twice and the insight we gained from them is still proving to be invaluable.

We started introductions on the 2nd January this year and she came home with us on the 6th….just two weeks before her 1st birthday. Her adoption order was granted in the summer.

The two children get on famously – he’s the big, protective brother and she’s a proper little toddler.
Would we do it again? Absolutely! So watch this space...!"

Sharon & Richard

Monday, 4 November 2013

"I wouldn't change a thing"

Welcome to our first blog! We're hoping to share experiences of some of our Buckinghamshire adopters and foster carers to show you what fostering and adoption is really like. 

This week is National Adoption Week so we thought we'd kick off with a lovely family who adopted their daughter over 2 years ago. 
The joys of adoption and building your family always far outweighs the difficulties.  Lynda and Robin adopted their daughter 2 and a half years ago and have never looked back... here's their story.