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Meet Debbie and Mark

Debbie and Mark have been fostering with FosterCare UK for over a year and love making a difference to young people's lives, read their story here.

Debbie and Mark

Mark and I have been fostering with FosterCare UK for one year, but we have previous fostering experience as we used to foster through our local authority. We had a brief break from fostering due to us having to move abroad for Mark’s job but when we came back, we knew we wanted to jump back into fostering.

Unfortunately, the local authority wanted us to go through the whole application process again, so we decided if we had to do that, we would explore other options available to us as we were ready for a change. One of our family members fell ill and when we visited them in hospital, the nurse that was treating him recommended we try FosterCare UK as her mum was a foster carer with them and really enjoyed it. The funny thing is, we ended up meeting the nurse’s mum when we started our training, so we knew it was meant to be!

Our family and friends have been very supportive about our decision to start fostering again and they love seeing the difference we make to children’s lives. We only have one daughter living at home with us and our other children have moved away so we knew it was the right time for us. Our middle daughter loves that we foster, she really enjoys getting involved and is considering fostering in the future.

When we get placements, sometimes they can be quite intense for the first couple of weeks but once a routine is established everything fits into place. We don’t have a preference for the ages we like to care for, but I do enjoy primary school ages as I feel more confident caring for children of those ages. We haven’t done much training regarding teenage children, but it could be something we look at in future.

It is really hard to say goodbye to the children when the placement comes to an end, but we always remind ourselves that they are going onto their forever home and this is a positive thing. We know we have done our bit by providing them with a loving home and keeping them safe, we are happy that we can provide this for many children and help them have a better future.

We have previously cared for parent and child placements which we really enjoy as they are very rewarding because we get to help parents learn how to care for their baby and how to be a family. Of course, not all parent and child placements have happy endings, so it is hard when the baby cannot stay with the mum or dad, but we try as much as we can to not have this happen. With all types of placements, the advice we would give to others is to be open minded and not have a set idea of what you think fostering is like. Things can change and you need to think of the bigger picture which is providing a safe and loving home for children.

The best thing about fostering for us is seeing the children develop into amazing people, especially when they have had a traumatic upbringing. We sometimes hear from the children who we previously have cared for and knowing that we helped them go onto achieve the impossible is the best feeling in the world. Fostering can be hard and very demanding at times but the positives of the role outweigh any negatives, when you can see the difference you have made to a child’s life you know you have done something right!

If you are thinking of fostering but are still a little bit unsure, all we can say is just do it because you’re never going to know what it is like until you finally do it. It is hard to put into words how rewarding and enjoyable fostering is, but we are so glad we started. As a family, we found ourselves drifting apart especially since our children have moved away and started their own families, but that is the great thing about fostering, it has brought us all back together again. Our children love spending time with the foster children and always want to join us on our fun days out or picnics, it definitely has strengthened our relationship with our children.

The support we get from FosterCare UK has been amazing, especially through the difficult times during the pandemic. It would be good to finally attend face-to-face training sessions, but we are enjoying the online training which is available at the moment. From the courses we have attended in the past, we have found other carers who we can lean on when things are getting difficult or even if we just fancy a chat. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone again when it is safe to do so.

We always say it was meant to be that we started fostering with FosterCare UK instead of the local authority, we are having a better experience this time round and you really feel like you are a part of one big family. The difference we have found with FosterCare UK compared to the local authority fostering is that we never feel forgotten, there is a family feel throughout the organisation and everyone always remembers us which is nice.

We hope more people decide to foster and join us because there are so many lovely children out there who need a loving family who can help them have a brighter future.

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