Victoria and Marc
“We’d recommend fostering to anyone.”
Victoria and Marc have really embraced fostering and all that goes with it. Victoria had spent over 18 years as a teacher, working in a special needs and behavioural unit. This was invaluable experience and gave her a wealth of skills for fostering.
Victoria explains: “I have always been very nurturing and when I was teaching, many of the children were in care or in need. I really wanted to help and would sometimes give clothes and want to feed them. Whilst teaching, I had a lot of contact with foster carers and the conversations I had with them made me realise I could really help children more directly. That’s what led to my new career as a foster carer.”
Marc and Vicky didn’t have long to wait to start their new career. “We were approved as carers in October 2012 and had our first placement eight days later – a brother and sister aged just five and six. This was the perfect match for our family as our own children were both teenagers and having the age gap worked really well.”
But the placement hasn’t been without its challenges. “The siblings are like chalk and cheese. Kane is very confident and on the go all the time,” Marc recall. “I remember him knocking at the door the day he came to us. He held out his hand, introduced himself and walked straight in and started playing. He was very much the responsible one in his family. It’s been a challenge to make him understand that he is a child, that it’s okay for him to be a child and not to take so much responsibility for his sister anymore.
“Poppy is much quieter and, unlike Kane, she can play imaginatively on her own very easily.” She’s made real improvements since coming to live with Marc and Vicky. Vicky recalls, “Poppy had used a dummy for long periods in the day, which led to speech and language delays. Fortunately this was my teaching specialism and we’ve seen a great improvement in her language development. She has gained a real interest in reading since coming to us. We started with simple rhyming books like Hairy Maclary and gradually moved on to Roald Dahl. She is as bright as a button and seeing her develop really has been the reward of fostering so far.”
The couple have also discovered the frustrations of fostering. “Just before Christmas, the plan for the children was changed and unfortunately they found out before we did that they were to be adopted,” says Marc. “We had to find out from them and the way it was handled was very frustrating as we didn’t know what to say to them. It left us very much on the back foot and the support Fostering People gave us was really helpful. Our social worker was able to contact the children’s social worker and bring us up to date.”
Vicky adds, “Since then we’ve had some setbacks in their behaviour, which really took their toll on me emotionally and I felt very down. But having talked to the Fostering People team and, most importantly, to other foster carers at the support groups and training, I realised my feelings were very natural and that helped me get back on track.
“Despite the challenges we’ve encountered so far in our fostering career, we have no regrets and the positives far outweigh the negatives. We talk to others about fostering all the time and I really would recommend it to anyone who wants to make a difference to children’s lives.”