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Fostering involves the whole family and will affect your children. Can you foster? Can you change lives? Take our quick survey.

Children of foster carers play a key role in the fostering household and should be included at all stages of the fostering process. It can be tough for children who find themselves sharing their parents with children who have led very different lives. However, many children also say that they have enjoyed their parents’ fostering and learnt a lot from it.

Foster carers say it is important you continue to make time for your own children and ensure that they still feel they are special to you. Research suggests that it is preferable to have a reasonable age gap – either way – between your children and those you foster. Some fostering services run groups that support sons and daughters of foster carers and your supervising social worker should make time to speak to them when he or she visits.

Read how you can make a difference, see what it has meant to Lydia whose parents have fostered.

Lydia

I was almost 9 when my parents began fostering and when it was first mentioned I was excited that a new child was going to come into our family. I knew that my parents were going to foster short term and the age group they intended to foster. I was excited that they may get a baby to look after. I was however worried that I might miss out on some of our family activities or my parents may not have as much time to spend with me.

The social worker that came to interview my sister and me during the assessment scared me. She made my sister cry and it felt that she was trying to put us off fostering but by the end of the assessments I liked her.

I don’t feel left out although my parents spent a lot of time with the babies that came into our home. Contact for the children often restricts us in our family planning as we often have to wait for the child to come back or go to contact, so we have to delay some activities or reschedule. We do seem to spend more quality time together and have more days out. I think my parents tend to rely on me more than my friends parents do with them and I feel more grown up.

There are a lot of visitors to the house relating to the children that stay with us, so I tend to stay out of the way when they are here. I feel it has made me more independent and it has made me think of my future and what I may wish to do. I have been researching careers in social care.

Most of my friends didn’t understand what fostering is. They think we have the opportunity to keep the children that come into our home and often ask how do we let them go when it comes time for them to move on. I have to constantly explain to friends that not all birth parents are bad parents and the reasons that children come to stay with us are varied and each child’s case is different. They believe that the children are not wanted by their parents which is not true and they believe as a family we can pick the children that stay with us.

If your parents want to become foster carers then be honest and talk to your parents. I could have asked more in the beginning and it would have stopped me from worrying about little things. Don’t expect to get perfect little babies as placements. Generally all children that have stayed with us have had some extra or special need to be addressed while living with us. Your parents will have to devote a lot of time to the care of children that live in your home and I think it may be more worrying for children without brothers or sisters. I was lucky in that I had my sister so in effect I was already sharing my parents with someone else (and there was someone who understood what I was experiencing too).

When children leave, how I feel depends, if the experience was good then I’m sad when they go but also happy for them. With every child you build up an attachment and sometimes it feels very sudden when children leave. I believe we all foster as a family and have to take comfort in that as a family we have done the best to make the child’s stay with us a happy one. I sometimes worry but have to trust that that someone new will care for the child as well as we have because effectively they have been my brother or sister for a while. It has also made me feel lucky to have my own sister and brother.

I feel closer to my family and the adoption of one placement now provides me with a brother. I know he will have to return to hospital for major heart surgery and I do worry that he may not return from one of the operations but equally I consider what will happen as my parents become older and if my brother needs special care in the future. I know that my sister and I will always be there for him and we are very close. If you want to know more about fostering you can ring Fosterline for advice.

Can you foster? Can you change lives? There is a constant need for foster carers with a shortfall of around 9,000 in this year alone. Don’t delay; start the process today.

Find out if you fit the criteria to foster by completing our quick online survey. (only 11 tick box questions)

Call Fosterline in confidence to find out more about becoming a foster carer on 0800 040 7675. Qualified Fosterline Advisers are available 9.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday.

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