I’d always wanted a bigger family but becoming a single parent meant that life changed a lot. I’d looked at adopting but with not much support, had decided that one child was all that my house was supposed to have in it.
Unfortunately, 3 years ago, I was on the list for redundancies from the job that I’d done for 16 years. I was devasted and concerned about the salaries of the jobs that were out there.
Shortly after, my brother was talking about bringing his 3 children down on holiday to visit me. I was so excited about filling my house with children that at 3am as I lay there worrying I suddenly had a lightbulb moment and reached for my phone to check things out.
The very next day I saw a couple of colleagues and asked “So tell me about fostering.” They did and one told me about FosterCare UK and I went off to make contact and booked in my initial meeting. After meeting with Sue Bartholomew my heart was set and I signed up for the Skills to Foster event which ran over my birthday!
My son, then 12, didn’t know that I was being made redundant, so I sat him down to say that I’d been looking at finding a new job so that I could be around more in the evenings and during the holidays and wondered what he thought to that. “Cool!” he said. I then went on to say that one option was to look after children who for various reasons needed people to look after them. He was over the moon at the idea of having other children in the house. I explained that in order to do it that I needed to move out of my bedroom and into his and that he needed to move into the spare room. His response was “Just do it.”
My first placement was an emergency placement, only a few days after going to panel and although I was excited, I was also a little nervous and concerned about making things go right for both the child and my son.
Since then, I’ve had two emergency placements and a planned move. The planned move and the latest of the emergency placements are now long-term placements. There have been challenges and I have needed to do things for them that I never thought that I’d have to do, but did I mind, no – it was what needed to happen for them at the time.
My favourite thing about my career so far is making a difference and filling my house with children … and then the dog! One brought the other as I couldn’t have worked in the office all day and had one.
My son has found the experience a learning curve but it has been so worthwhile. He loves to be able to hang out with other children at home and there is much banter about (along with the usual squabbles that my brother’s and I had).
Since beginning my fostering journey I’ve not looked back and love my new career. The support I have had from FosterCare UK has been second to none, and they have been a vital part of my fostering experience being as positive as it has been.