Cathy and Graham's fostering story
Before becoming a foster family, Cathy and Graham were formally an army family traveling across the UK. The couple settled in the West Midlands and started to look into adoption as the couple had been unable to have their own children, as Cathy explains.
“We looked into adoption but we decided it wasn’t right for us at that time".
Before becoming a foster family, Cathy and Graham were formally an army family travelling across the UK. The couple settled in the West Midlands and started to look into adoption as the couple had been unable to have their own children, as Cathy explains.
“We looked into adoption but we decided it wasn’t right for us at that time. It felt very final and we hadn’t given up on 'us' having our own children. I kept seeing adverts for fostering so we looked into it and we had a few different providers visit us. We went with Fostering People, because we liked Cath, who visited us and felt reassured by her knowledge”.
Fostering involves more than just the foster parent but the wider family too.
Fostering often involves wider members of the family and close friends. Cathy and Graham live close to Cathy’s mum and brother and when they told them of their decision to foster, they were delighted.
Cathy and Graham have been fostering since 2014 and in that time have had just one placement, a little boy who was aged just 6 when he came to live with the couple. Ben is placed long term, and Cathy and Graham’s home will be his for the rest of his childhood and perhaps beyond.
When a family of 3 became a family of 4.
Since Ben came to live with the couple, Cathy and Graham have successfully had a child of their own. Their family now includes 9-month-old Josephine.
Cathy said, “We told Ben we had a surprise for him. Ben had been hoping for a puppy, but when we told him we were having a baby he was delighted”. As with any sibling, preparing for a new baby is important. For a foster child who has experienced the loss of birth family, the preparations needed to be handled carefully.
“We took Ben to all the baby scans and this really seemed to help. He was fully involved in purchasing the baby equipment and choosing toys and this helped Ben to maintain his important place in our family. When Josephine was born I stayed in hospital for 4 days. This helped Ben to get use to Josephine through frequent visits before she moved into his home. Ben was smitten with her from the moment he saw her, today they both adore each other”.
Challenges of Fostering with a new baby
“There have been some challenges. Over the Christmas holidays it became obvious to Ben that there wasn't as much one to one time as he had had before. This caused some issues we needed to work through.
This summer I have arranged holiday clubs for Ben to keep him entertained and some nursery care for Josephine so I can spend some one on one time with Ben that he really needs, more so than if he wasn’t a foster child and he is an intrigue part of our family. Not just to Graham and I, but also to my mum, who he calls ‘Granny’. She has Ben one night a week for sleepovers and they both enjoy the time they spend together. We are very lucky to have the support of not only my mum, but my brother and his wife and our close friends too. They are all involved with Ben, which really helps us with a small baby. But also make our family life as normal for Ben as possible”.