Make a difference with long term fostering

Foster carers from Bridgwater have backed Somerset County Council’s appeal to attract more foster carers by sharing their experience of long term permanent fostering.

The Council is looking for more foster carers to look after children on a long term, permanent basis.

Rachel and Christina, from the Bridgwater area, were approved to foster in November 2012. Two weeks later they had their first placement, Martha, a 10 year old girl, and she is now living with them permanently.

Christina explained the reasons behind their decision to foster. She said: “I have grown up around children and being around children is hugely important in my life. The idea of fostering was one I had always thought about.

“When Martha first arrived we were all nervous. We made paper aeroplanes and then I fell over and landed on a cactus! That broke the tension and I feel like we have been laughing ever since really.

“Both of our families have embraced Martha. They all get on with her and treat her as part of the family. Rachel and I are now expecting our own child. Martha is both excited and concerned about this arrival. It’s good to see the usual sibling concerns.”

Children in care over the age of seven who are unlikely to return to their birth parents or extended family or be adopted, need foster carers who will give them a permanent family to grow up in. These foster carers need to offer children support, stability and love as they mature into adulthood and beyond.

Cabinet Member for Children and Families, Cllr Frances Nicholson, said: “Rachel and Christina’s story is a testament to the fact that long term fostering is incredibly rewarding for both the child and the foster carers. Anyone who cares for children, regardless of race, age, gender or sexuality can foster and can follow in Rachel and Christina’s inspiring footsteps and make a huge difference to the life of a child.”

The next fostering information event is on Monday 29th September. The event, which takes place from 7-9pm at the Holiday Inn Express in Taunton, will give interested people a chance to pose questions to social workers, foster carers and adoptive parents. There will also be a presentation at 7.30pm showing how important foster carers are to the development of a child in care.

Rachel and Christina have experienced a few challenges during their time fostering but overall have found that Martha fits in well with their family and their lives. Christina continued: “We had a few behavioural problems at the beginning. Every time we have taken the same approach, not held her behaviour against her and listened with understanding. We rarely have problems any more.

“The best bit about fostering is waking up in the morning and seeing her eyes light up just that tiny bit. We have seen her progress at school and we are watching her grow with confidence. We also have a happier home; we eat better, keep things clean and tidy, bake cakes, hear laughter and go out more.

“Martha was with us for about five months when it was decided that she would be staying in care permanently. We were undecided about what was going to happen with our future as a couple and trying to fit a teenager into those plans was difficult at first but we soon realised that Martha was adapting into our lives very well and we could incorporate her into our future.”

Read Rachel and Christina’s full story here: http://www.fosteringinsomerset.org.uk/SuccessStory

For more information on fostering visit http://www.fosteringinsomerset.org.uk or phone 0800 587 9900. The team are also on twitter @fostersomerset.