Profiles of Foster Carers
Meet a female foster carer with Pride
What is it like being a female foster carer?Being a foster carer is one of the best things I have ever done in my life. It’s sometimes scary, exhausting, and hard and it can really knock your confidence at times. However despite all that, it can also be exciting, enjoyable, rewarding and completely fantastic!!
What made you decide to become a foster carer?
Ever since I was quite young I wanted to either foster or adopt a child when I was older. But what really got me into fostering was two young people that really needed a placement and that really needed some love and support. I put myself forward to be their foster carer and since then I have had other placements and absolutely love being a foster carer.
What strengths have helped you as a foster carer?
Being patient, having a supportive family, being able to look past young people’s actions and behaviour trying to understand what is really going on with them. Being able to listen and listen well, having time to give to them and being understanding and non-judgemental.
What would you recommend to people interested in becoming foster carers?
I would say to anyone who wants to become a foster carer ‘it is both the hardest and most incredible thing in the world!’ You have to be ready for the hard times, the struggles and the points at which you feel you are going to crack up literally, but if you are ready for them and you learn to just let them go and move on quickly then you will start to see the benefits of being a foster carer. Being a part of a child’s life in that way, being the person they depend on, day in day out, is the most amazing privilege and gives you a huge sense of achievement. You also receive so much love as well as being able to give so much love also, and it is something that will Shape and change your life as well as theirs.
How long have you been a foster carer?
I have been a foster carer for just over a year now.
What has been your experience of fostering?
I have some really good times and really bad times being a foster carer. There are many challenges every day and in the beginning it is hard to adapt to that but eventually you learn to deal with things in a positive way. I think fostering has been the biggest challenge I have faced in my life and it has definitely pushed me to my limit at times, but it has always been outweighed by the amazing times and the massive breakthroughs we have had with young people. It is hands down, the best thing I have ever done, and I would not have changed any of the experiences and challenges I have faced for the world, as they not only helped me forge relationships with the young people in my care, they also helped me evolve as a person.
How has the experience enriched/changed your life?
Being a foster carer has massively enriched my life. It is the one thing I have done in my life that I feel most proud of. Day to day you just get on with things, resolve issues, be there for comfort and generally run around like a ‘headless chicken’! But when you stop and reflect on your role in that young persons’ life it really feels like something truly special! The young people I have had in my care have all, in their own way, blown me away, touched me, surprised me, and generally made me a better and stronger person! When young people have been through extremely traumatic experiences and you see them cope with life on their own you can only be left with a huge amount of respect and admiration. It is these young people that have been in my care that have really changed my life in the most positive way!
How have you coped financially and emotionally?
Coping emotionally was sometimes hard but I coped with this by constantly talking about how I felt to my family and friends and leaning on them when I needed to. I also share caring responsibility with my mum and so we talked a lot about how things were making us feel and how to deal with the challenging situations we sometimes faced. In the beginning I felt really bad going out on my own and doing things for myself as I felt I should always involve the girls I was looking after, but after a while I realised it was important for me to have my own time too, and I eventually made use of the spare time I had to just relax and enjoy myself. Financially it is sometimes hard as they generally like someone to be at home all the time so you are relying on one wage and your allowance. However, you just have to budget well and plan activities and outings etc. so that you have enough to cover everything.
How has your work/life balance been?
Initially I was only working 16 hours so it was much easier and the placements we had during that time were very demanding so I don’t think I would have been able to do any more than that. However now I am full time it is harder to manage everything. The main things that become difficult to juggle are the paperwork aspects, the meetings and the training sessions you have to attend. Being available for the young lad we have in our care at the moment is not a problem as I only work while he is at school.
How has Pride supported you?
Pride has been very supportive to us. Especially in the beginning as we had a very hard time with the local authority and they really got behind us and the young people in our care to reach the best outcome for them. It really showed me the ethos of Pride Fostering and how they put young people first and really fight for their rights. This is the best kind of support we could have received as we knew we were on the same page as each other. The social worker we had at that time was also amazing and went above and beyond to support us. When things are very tough it really makes a difference when you receive that kind of support.
What would you recommend to others considering becoming a foster carer?
I think anyone that is considering becoming a foster carer is amazing because it is a hard job and you have to sacrifice a lot in order to give children and young people a safe and loving home. It is the most incredible thing though and as I said it has given me the greatest sense of pride being able to be a part of the lives of the young people I have fostered. I think anyone that embarks on that journey will feel exactly the same way I feel.