Buckinghamshire Council's carers Julie and Mark discuss how their faith led them to fostering
Both Julie and I grew up in middle class families. We have three children together, who we cared for until they left home to make their way in the world. Most of the families we knew and socialised with were from a similar background, so to begin with we had little awareness of the care system that supports foster children.
As Christians, we knew that we had an obligation to love the community around us, and so we prayed that God would show us how we should do this. At that time, we both read the book, Home for Good by Krish Kandiah. This very moving book opened our eyes to the tens of thousands of children who needed secure homes to protect them from neglect and abuse. We had empty bedrooms; we had experience of raising children; so we wondered if fostering was something we could do.
In 2014 we attended a 'summit' run by Krish Kandiah and his newly formed charity, also called Home for Good. Here we found out more about fostering and felt God calling us to become foster carers. We applied to Buckinghamshire Council’s Fostering Service and, over the next months, were trained, assessed and approved. In 2016 we were matched with our first children in care.
We’ve now looked after various children - aged from less than a week, to 17 years old. Some have been adopted, some returned to their families and some are living independently. As members of a local church we are part of a network that provides great practical support to us as foster carers. For example, when life gets busy, members of the church turn up at our door with cooked meals.
The Home for Good book was republished last year. As well as continuing our work as foster carers with Buckinghamshire Council, Julie and I are now champions for Home for Good. We run an informal Support Group in South Bucks.
Julie and I always say that one of the great things about fostering is that we do it together. I recently retired and am looking forward to spending more time with the children in our home, as well as raising the profile of fostering and adoption within the church. One section in the Home for Good book has always resonated with us. If one family in each church in the UK decided to foster or adopt, and if the rest of the church wrapped themselves around them with practical and prayerful support, this would provide all the homes that children in care need.
If you’d like to chat with one of our foster carers on a one-to-one basis to hear what it’s really like to Foster with Bucks then please get in touch with us today by emailing us at FosterwithBucks@buckinghamshire.gov.uk
We also host monthly virtual information events and welcome anyone interested in learning more about the application process in a relaxed and comfortable online environment. Contact us to book your place at www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/fostering
Names in this article have been changed to protect privacy