Julie and Mark
We have been fostering for around 8 years now and have looked after children of all ages. Before we began fostering we had a plan to look after younger children. As we were new to fostering we felt this would be easier as we were a little anxious as to whether we would cope with teenagers. Over the years we have found that in a lot of cases it’s actually been easier with older children as they can bring such humour and life into our lives and the rewards from seeing young teenagers into independent young adults has been worth any teenage strops that they are famous for!
We have noticed that both teenagers and younger children come with past traumas that need to be worked through. We have found that teenagers are able to talk through these difficulties more easily than younger ones and we have found this most rewarding.
Along with the support and training we receive from Fostering People we have seen 2 young people into adulthood another who is well on their way to becoming independent and 2 more young people who are responding well with our help. We have been lucky enough to have taken long term placements and we are looking forward to seeing the 2 younger placements gain in confidence and ability to eventually become young adults themselves.
Fostering People facilitate the use of support groups where we get the opportunity to share our experiences and concerns with other local foster carers which we have found very useful. Just being able to listen and talk to other carers helps to put situations in to perspective and you never think you’re on your own. Along with this, our supporting social worker is always at the end of the phone to talk though any concerns and we receive regular home visits from her too. So with this and the 24 hour out of hour’s helpline, there is always someone to speak to.
We also attend regular training days to help us keep up to date with relevant new practices and legal requirements. Fostering People also provide a Reflect Group which is run by an experienced therapist. This allows us to explore the physiological impact past traumas have on the children and good parenting models that can be used to help them work through these difficulties.
All in all we have found fostering the most rewarding experience. We have often commented that we couldn’t see ourselves doing anything else. We wonder why we didn’t do it sooner.