Foster carers Kim and Hugh provide a glimpse into their experiences fostering a child. Fostering a child was something we had considered for a long time. We started our journey with Rainbow Fostering eight years ago. In that time we’ve had children of all ages – from two to twenty-one. In that time we’ve also fostered a young person on a long- term basis for eight years. In fact, she was our first placement coming to our home when she was just ten years of age. We’re very proud as she is now studying geography at university. We were seeing her at most weekends as her university is not that far from us. And it provided us with huge pleasure to see the way she took to university life. At first, there were a few nerves for her leaving us, but she knows we will always be there for her. And then everything changed suddenly when the lockdown started. Our foster daughter returned home and continued her studies online. We were pleased as we could see she was able to maintain her social life on Zoom and Skype. It’s not, as everyone knows, the same as face to face contact. We are glad as the lockdown has eased in recent weeks, that she has been able to meet up with friends from university and pick up from where she left off. The social side is a big part of university life and we are keen she doesn’t miss out too much on that.
Fostering a child, we believe, is a great privilege.
Whilst we have spent so much more time at home, it has given us the chance to remember some of the other experiences fostering children has given us. We have enjoyed having them under our roof over the years. It’s a kaleidoscope of memories. Fortunately, in this era of smartphones, we have literally hundreds of pictures and videos of our experiences of fostering a child. With our foster daughter, there was the first day at school, her first birthday party at home. Then we shared the buzz and commotion of the birthday parties at her friend’s houses. The first holiday with us. And we’ll never forget her excitement the first time she went on a plane when we flew to Spain. That is one of those special memories beyond value. She could barely contain her excitement in the taxi to the airport so by the time we were boarding the plane itself she was literally on (or about to be on) cloud none. Hugh and I will never forget her asking us to pinch her on each arm so she knew she wasn’t dreaming. Fostering a child gives you these kinds of personal and happy memories. Those eight years spent fostering a child have also seen us taking a number of emergency placements. We are always ready to help out. Especially since when a child arrives – so often looking forlorn and lost, they are comforted by the fact we have a foster daughter with us. We both think that these experiences have been good for our daughter. Some of these placements have lasted longer. All of us remember Luke, a lively football-mad seven-year-old of Afro Caribbean heritage. Lost balls and a broken greenhouse window were all but inevitable. He stayed for six months because there was an illness in his family. Fortunately, that was sorted out, so when he left us it was to go back to his birth family. A happy result. But, there have been tougher placements – inevitable when fostering children. Times when we have tried our best yet things still did not work out. But that is all part and parcel of being a foster carer. You have to learn to be pragmatic. And that actually, over time, builds your own levels of resilience for fostering a child. As does all the training and support for fostering children Rainbow have arranged over the years. We now have a veritable hoard of memories. Many happy pictures and smiling faces. And we know they exist because we have been supported to make our foster home a place of security, stability, and hope. Fostering a child, we never forget, is all about inspiring them to believe they can have any kind of future they want. But they have to work for it.
Why we love what we do. Yes, fostering a child is challenging. How could it not be? But we’ve discovered there’s nothing we would rather do. The blend of challenge, reward and unpredictability mean that no two days are ever the same. Over the years we’ve seen fostering develop into a career. If you want, there’s just so much to learn. If you never had a profession and are looking for one then look no further. We know carers who are training to foster therapeutically and be part of the team of specialist that stabilise the lives of traumatised children. But we are happy with our style of fostering. It definitely meets our needs and expectations. Thank you for reading this brief glimpse into our lives as foster carers. Hopefully, it is something you will want to take further. Something else that has given us considerable satisfaction is we have been able to refer two families to Rainbow Fostering who have seen the benefits fostering a child has brought us.
Names and picture changed to protect privacy.
Fostering a child with Rainbow Fostering.
We have many reasons to believe Rainbow is one of the best independent fostering agencies. Our ethos is all about knowledge sharing. This enables us to communicate our culture of caring for attainment through every level of the organisation. And that means supporting our carers to fulfil their ambitions. When they are doing that, we know the same is happening for the children and young people they have dedicated themselves too. And we need serious-minded people to join our team for taking on the challenge of fostering a child. People who think that there is something wrong with the fact that only six per cent of care experienced children progress to university. We are on a mission: so, too, should everyone who is a part of Rainbow Fostering.
Fostering children is something you can find out more about by calling us on 0300 Fostering kids can be stimulating and rewarding. It can also be tiring so you will need to have a reasonable level of fitness. If you are interested in fostering to adopt, that is something we can also advise on.
That we have been providing loving, stable foster homes for well over twenty years – along with being rated ‘Outstanding in all areas’ by Ofsted – will, hopefully, reassure our applicants they will receive the best training and support throughout their fostering careers. Please visit our website page on Frequently Asked Questions – it covers many of the areas people need to know about fostering. http://rainbowfostering.co.uk/frequent-asked-questions/
Take a look at our extensive library of blogs that are about many fostering related issues. At Rainbow, we are committed to building the knowledge and ambitions of our foster carers through maintaining a focus on fostering. A recommended blog:
The coronavirus pandemic has challenged us all in different ways. The Government’s website provides the latest information – https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/coronavirus
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