“We foster as a family”

A 16 year-old from Mendip has written about what it’s like to grow up in a family that fosters.

Rachel James

Rachel James’s parents began fostering with Somerset County Council when they were in their early twenties, before she was born.

Her mum and dad have cared for children ranging from new-born babies up to teenagers, and also specialised in caring for children with disabilities.

Rachel’s lively blog, published online at www.fosteradoptsomerset.org.uk, gives an insight into the experiences of birth children in a fostering household, describing it as a “huge part of our family life”.

The birth children of a prospective foster carer are vitally important when parents apply to become foster carers, and they will be asked about their thoughts and feelings around fostering as part of the assessment process.

Birth children are also invited on activity days to meet other children in a similar position, to learn more about what it is like to be part of a family who fosters.

Rachel says: “I have always loved the fact that we foster, the idea that we are giving a child that needs a home a stable and loving environment is a lovely feeling! We have always said that we foster as a family, and so me and my younger brother have a say in who comes to stay. For example, one decision was that we would not typically foster anyone older than my brother.”

She also shares how she and her brother like to prepare when they know a new child or young person is coming to stay at their house.

“I get ready by trying to make their room as friendly as possible, perhaps making a sign for the door with their name on it or putting some toys on their bed, just little things that can make everything a little less scary.”

She adds: “When a child leaves it can be really emotional and there are always a few tears. But at the end of the day you know that they are going on to a family of their own, and you have done a good thing by providing what you did, even if it was only for a short period of their lives.”

Somerset County Council is seeking people who can foster older children aged 10 and above, teenagers, children with disabilities, siblings, and who could provide children in need of care with a place to call home, long term.

If you think you or your family could make a positive change to the life of a child or young person in need of care in Somerset, please get in touch with our Fostering Team.

You can read Rachel’s blog in full by visiting www.fosteradoptsomerset.org.uk/news/rachels-blog-foster-family/

To find out more about fostering with Somerset County Council, visit http://www.fosteradoptsomerset.org.uk or phone 0800 5879900.