Claire’s Fostering Journey
Claire has been an approved carer with Fostering First for over a year. She has shared her story in hope of inspiring others to take the first steps in starting their own journey in making a difference in the lives of children and young people.
When I made the decision to become a foster carer, I had mixed expectations and I knew it would be full of wonderful and possibly hard moments. I wondered how a child would adjust to me and my home? I being a realistic person knew it would not be all sunshine and roses, they may have experienced a level of trauma, could I cope with this? The unknown can be more daunting than reality. All I can do is to offer them a positive experience and give it my all.
My initial assessment and training took place over many months and involved regular meetings with my Link Social Worker. During the assessment process they discussed the people in my life who can provide me with support. I am lucky to have my family and friends, who have all been so supportive and positive since I first told them I was first applying.
I found the assessment very thorough and drawn out, but my assessing social worker had told me it would be. I found that a lot of questions were asked. Now being a foster carer, I understand why my social worker needed to know all the information she asked about.
I wanted to be assessed for all types and all ages of fostering. I was a single applicant and I was unsure if that would hinder my chances, but FFI assured me this wouldn’t be an issue as long as I have the time in my life, to dedicate to a child who needs support and care. I was approved to care for a child aged 12-18 on an emergency, short term or respite placement.
My first foster child came to me 9 months ago. A 16 year old girl from Botswana. While fostering is different for everyone and no two placements are the same, my experience so far has been a positive one that makes me feel good because I know that I am helping her.
I thought that it might be little bit awkward and uncomfortable for both of us but, I made her welcome and she fitted in so well. We bonded very quickly, especially during the last few months during lockdown. I appreciate every placement may not be as easy as this one; I believe Fostering First matched us very well.
It’s hard to remember a time when she wasn’t here. My family life hasn’t changed that much at all, we still do all the things we used to do together as a family, but now Tina is included.
This has been a very rewarding experience, by welcoming Tina in to my home, helping her and seeing her blossom in front of my eyes. My life has been enriched, not only by Tina, but also by all the carers and social workers that I have met.
FFI has a big team who are there if ever I need assistance. The support that both of us have received since Tina arrived has been amazing. I never feel like I am on my own. Having gone through the process I would gladly do it all over again as seeing my foster child thrive and grow into the person that she wants to be is so rewarding.
I am very happy that I became a foster carer. I would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in fostering, to make an enquiry about the different types of fostering possibilities to see which one they are best suited to.