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The journey to becoming a foster carer

 

For Gladys and her husband Felix, becoming members of the Affinity Fostering team of carers has been an enlightening and positive experience. With four children of their own, their home has always been full of nurturing and love, so it seemed natural to them to offer the same experience to a child in need.

The couple first sat down and discussed fostering a child in 2008, but they decided that their family was too young and that they wouldn’t be able to provide the space needed to provide a quality fostering placement. Nine years later, in 2017, with three of their children having flown the nest and their youngest in her last year of 6th form, they decided that the time was right. They missed the noise of having a family in their home.

Gladys is quick to point out that becoming a foster carer isn’t an easy journey and definitely not a decision to be taken lightly, however, Affinity made the process from filling in the paperwork to sitting in front of the panel as painless and stress-free as possible.

After completing the comprehensive assessment and required references taken up, they were visited twice by one of Affinity’s dedicated social workers who helped them to prepare for their panel interview and answered any questions or concerns that they had about the process. Our social workers are always available to support both foster carers and the young people placed in their care.

The day of their panel interview arrived and Gladys and Felix went to meet the independent multi-disciplined foster panel. For Gladys the most nerve-racking part of the day was sitting and waiting to see if they had received approval to join the Affinity fostering team. They got their answer on the same day and it was a firm “Yes!”

With fostering you may not receive a placement immediately, there is a process to ensure the placement is a good match with your family. Gladys and Felix wanted to look after a child aged between 1 and 7 and from a similar ethnic background to themselves, so they waited for three months until the ideal match became available.

In the meantime, they attended courses that would prepare them for their fostering journey. Gladys found the courses fascinating and insightful, “The more we read, we got to see the differences and different aspects involved from raising our own kids.” She discovered that there are huge differences between raising a child that is your own and one that needs to learn to trust you. More attention is needed to build up the child’s confidence so they can feel safe and reassured around you.

At the end of 2018 G came to live with them. He was their first placement and they were his first foster family. As a result of the training and continued support from their social worker, their new foster career is a success and Gladys says, “G has been a blessing to us”.

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