Julie and Steve
“Fostering is like a roller coaster, but there are always many more ups than downs.”
Since joining Fostering People in 2008, Julie and Steve have experienced the full range of joys and challenges that fostering brings.
Julie explains: “I used to be a childminder and loved having children around the house. Whilst childminding, I attended playgroups and met with foster carers. I also had a close friend who was a foster carer.” It was this contact that motivated the couple to become carers once their own children became independent.
“We applied to Fostering People as we liked the way the company was established and agreed with its principles,” recalls Steve. “We liked their approach; working within the local community. We know all the staff that work in the North East and the support we’ve been given has been second to none. I particularly like the fact that training and support groups are all held close to where we live.’
Julie and Steve have fostered four young people in their career so far – a 14-year-old girl on a short term placement, a 12-year-old boy who lived with them for two years, and two brothers aged five and two who the couple successfully moved on to an adoptive family.
“I felt I was ready to move the boys on but when the time came to say goodbye, it really hit me,” says Julie. It’s very much like bereavement and it takes time to get over those feelings of loss. We’ve received phone calls from the boys following their adoption and it’s really good to have this contact, knowing they’re getting on well. But it doesn’t just affect you as foster carers, there’s the wider family too. Our grandchildren were of a similar age and attended the same nursery. The boys moving on had a big effect on them too.”
Both Julie and Steve look back on their fostering with mixed emotions and know that it has had a profound emotional effect on them. But it’s testament to the caring nature of foster carers like them who really invest all of themselves into their fostering career.
“Fostering is really like a roller coaster,” says Julie. “You never have the same day twice but there are always many more ups than downs. Really consider the effect of fostering on your family and the impact on your lives. You can’t go out as easily as you used to and the children’s needs must always come first.’
However, time has been a great healer and with the support of their social worker and other carers, the couple are looking forward to continuing their fostering career, taking up a series of inductions with a sibling group of three children who they will be looking after on a long-term basis.