A moment in the life of a Foster Carer

Published 15 May 2024

The theme of this year’s Foster Care Fortnight #FCF24 is #FosteringMoments. We thought this was a perfect opportunity to speak to Affinity Ambassador and Foster Carer of 7 years, Phil about the many moments that have defined his fostering journey to date.
 

Watercooler moments

My partner, Tracey, had been working as a Family Support Supervisor for a Fostering Agency for many years. There were evenings when she would come home frustrated and upset by the way some Foster Carers would treat the children she was supporting. We started to ask ourselves if we could make a difference to the experience some children have of foster care and this led to us asking ourselves, could we foster? So, it was Tracey’s work that led us to fostering, but it was a conversation with one of my work colleagues that led us to Affinity. John and Linda told us how well Affinity supported them and the children they cared for. The more we learnt about Affinity, the more sure we were that we belonged there. Fast forward 7 years and John and Linda are close friends and valued members of our support network, and we still feel the same about Affinity – it’s like a family. We remain eternally grateful to John and Linda for starting us off on our journey and if we can do the same for someone else, that would be brilliant.

The more we learnt about Affinity, the more sure we were that we belonged there.

 

First festive fostering moments

The first children we welcomed into our home arrived just before Christmas, a sibling group of 3 aged 2, 9 and 16. We were their first experience of Fostering and they, ours. We had to all find our way together. As a means of breaking the ice, we decided to bring Santa and his Elves to the house – this went down a storm with them and our own children who were 4 and 9 at the time.

My main memory of that first experience of fostering is how nervous we were. Once we knew they were coming, it felt like we were just rushing around; we had so much to organise for them before we even got on to the Christmas shopping! It was chaos at an already chaotic time. It was, however, pretty amazing too.

 

The high moments and the low moments

It’s so important to mark the successes as you journey through fostering. There are so many moments where I’ve thought, wow! How cool is this! We’ve seen some amazing outcomes for our children and young people such as one young person appearing on the front page of a newspaper laying a wreath on Remembrance Day, to another dancing on stage for the English National Ballet. It makes me emotional at times to consider how a bit of effort on our part can lead to so many proud moments for the children and young people.

Of course, there are challenges too! Maybe we’ve been fortunate, but we’ve only had one seriously challenging situation. We were supported by Affinity from the moment we asked for help and the support kept coming in the weeks and months that followed.

 

A moment for reflection

The doing is important in fostering, but so is the being. I’ve learned that a moment taken to think, consider, weigh up, a moment to be, is a moment very well spent. Rushed responses can isolate a child or expose their vulnerabilities in ways that they may not for your own children.

“I’ve learned that a moment taken to think, consider, weigh up, a moment to be, is a moment very well spent.”

When you foster, you need to learn to live with change. Things are constantly evolving and plans forever changing. Try and keep some things enshrined in routine, like hobbies and seeing friends; these things will provide you with consistency when you’re finding things difficult or if you have gaps between children leaving and new children arriving.

 

A moment to encourage YOU!

If you’ve seriously thought about fostering, you just need to give it a go. There are many different types of fostering from sibling groups, through to teens, children with additional needs, helping older children into independence, short-term and long-term fostering – the list goes on. And once you have experience under your belt, you can also care for young parents and their babies in what is known as parent and child fostering.

There are so many children and young people waiting for someone who can give them love, attention and time, who can make them feel important and worthy of good things.

Take a moment to call Affinity and speak to them about fostering. It may be the start of a wonderful journey for you, just as it was for me.

Contact Affinity at info@affinityfostering.com visit our website at www.affinityfostering.com or follow us on Facebook.

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