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Why foster with us?

4. Meet our foster carers

Read about our other foster carers

Our Foster Carer Emily, a mother of one, from Aylesbury has been fostering with us for four years.

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!

I was at home with my two 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, but I did get a lot of training and support from the council which will prepare you for this, as well as listening to other 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.

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.

One of the children we looked after was a four- 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 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.

There are plenty of children out there who just need love – love is easy to give.

Our Foster Carer Suzanne from Haddenham has been fostering children under 5 with us for the last 3 years.

For the last 3 years we have been doing short term fostering for children up to the age of 5 and we absolutely love it. We started when our boys were 9, 12 and 14 years old and I was considering returning to work. My husband works fairly long hours and I was keen to be around for the boys when they came home from school and to be available if they needed me.

Fostering seemed to fit the bill. It has given me a career making a significant difference to a child’s life, working alongside other childcare professionals, undertaking training and understanding human behaviour – also of myself!

It’s been lovely to see our boys playing with and caring for the children we’ve fostered. They have enjoyed being a part of it and seeing these kids heal and develop. They have learnt so much through fostering and it really feels like a team family job we do together.

There are tough days but overall it’s definitely worth it.

Our Foster Carers Lynda and Raymond have been fostering babies since 2010.

Lynda and Raymond were approved as Foster Carers in May 2010 for one child between the ages of 0-2 years old. With five children of their own, Lynda and Raymond are a large family who all embrace the demands and challenges of fostering that they have faced in their first two years.

For Lynda and Raymond, it was the economic climate that brought them to fostering. Ray was self-employed; making bits for cars but with the economy as it is the work started drying up. They had talked about fostering and once their youngest reached five, they decided to apply. Ray now works at Sainsbury’s two days a week and Lynda is a full time Carer so it is working well for them.

Applying was a long process and there are quite a few meetings as there is a lot to discuss but it was really enjoyable. The Barkers also met other Foster Carers and say they were in awe of those who had been doing it for 20-30 years. It was very important to include Lynda and Raymond’s own children in the process and time was taken to speak to them all as well as speaking to Ray and Lynda.

With the babies they have fostered so far, they have had good relationships with the parents. They don’t want them to worry and the more you work with them the better it is for the child.

They receive regular support and supervision from their fostering social worker and their children are attendees at the activity based support group for the sons and daughters of Foster Carers.

So what would Ray and Lynda say to anyone thinking about being a Foster Carer?

“I’d advise people to just go for it, nothing ventured, nothing gained. You need to know exactly what to expect, be honest and as open as possible, there’s no point hiding anything. The rewards are fantastic – I would really recommend it – being able to help is lovely.”

Foster Carer Lee-Anne has been fostering with us since 2011.

Since being approved as a Foster Carer in March 2011, Lee-Anne has found the experience incredibly rewarding and her message to others is simple:

“Just have a go – put your name forward. If there’s a voice in the back of your head, just ring up and find out more. You could be that family who could make a difference to a child. Our family has got loads out of it. We’ve opened our hearts and it’s been really positive. It’s been very rewarding for us – I’d definitely recommend other people to have a go. For the time they are with you they get something they may not have had before – loving care that stands them in good stead for the next stage of their life.

Buckinghamshire County Council is in desperate need of more Foster Carers but people don’t seem to think that Bucks has a need for them. People assume that because you live in a lovely area that can appear quite affluent there’s no need for Carers. So children end up placed a long way away and that affects them seeing their families and means they have to change school which isn’t good for them.”

Lee-Anne understands why it can take time to become approved as the council needs to be very careful that Carers are ready otherwise the children will end up being moved around if they have got it wrong. But she also knows it is a worthwhile process for a family to go through.

Lee-Anne says “All you need is a spare room and a big heart. Foster families are just normal people with everyday issues and problems.”

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Last updated: 1 August 2017

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