Fostering is something that can be really positive not only to the child you are caring for, but also your own children.
Mel and Dave have fostered for Surrey County Council for six years. Married with two children – Annie, 21, and Tom, 17, the couple are currently fostering John*, who is a similar age to their son.
What do you enjoy most about fostering?
It’s our chance to give back. It allows us to use our experience and parenting skills right now, rather than waiting for grandchildren. The smiles and the hugs are exceptionally rewarding. We enjoy being able to give someone transferable skills, make them laugh, and have a place to feel safe.
It feels as though John has always been part of the family. We share hugs, jokes, laughs, and heart to hearts – it’s given our family a new dimension and an enriched life experience.
What’s a typical day?
No day is like any other. Some days are manic with doing the school run, organising social activities, preparing food or clothes washing. Some days are quiet and relaxing with lots of laughter and fun. At the moment, with a teenager, there is lots of homework and preparing for school deadlines.
What’s the support like?
Our social worker Sue, is fantastic, and has helped us so much. Surrey County Council provide workshops, training, support groups and fun days – we’re part of a professional team.
Tom and Annie – what’s it like having a new sibling in the family?
It’s been lovely having John here – he’s got a great sense of humour and we have a good laugh. As we’re nearly the same age, we’ve got lots in common. Having another member of the family has made things more fun.
Do you have any advice to other families wanting to foster?
I really recommend it – the love which can be returned to you is incredibly rewarding, though it’s not easy 100% of the time. Seeing young people develop a sense of purpose as they start to fulfil their potential is great. We can’t make the world a perfect place, but we can provide a safe, non-judgemental space where they can learn to deal with life, face challenges and create a good future. We can arm them with new skills and a positive view of family life. Why not try it!
*name has been changed. istock photo.
Could you become a foster carer?
For more information on fostering,
call: 08000 96 96 26