“Fostering is challenging, rewarding, amazing but also hard work. You hear horror stories of people labelling fostering negatively but a lot of the negative elements are those publicised in the media etc. Children are children at the end of the day.
“We had considered fostering for many years before pursuing it, lots of things went through our minds such as; would it fit in with our lifestyles? Could I work or not? Are we ready to foster? I was then focused on my career as a Matron within the NHS, and with Rich also working full-time for Conwy County Borough Council, the opportunity never presented itself.
“However this all changed when I was involved in a serious car accident whilst at work, and following my recovery it made me re-assess what to do in life and this is when we acted upon our interest and looked into fostering further.
“Our assessment journey was very thorough and did take some time to complete, it gave us a fantastic grounding into foster care. During our Skills to Foster training we also had the opportunity to meet experienced foster carers and spent time talking to them.
“When we were first approved it was nerve racking, we felt anxious and didn’t know what to expect. We started off by providing respite placements (which we recommend to all new foster carers) as this was a great first step into fostering. We were also sent a supporting Pen Picture of the child(ren) prior to their arrival which helped to bring the child to life and made us better prepared for their stay.”
We still see some of the children we first provided respite for and it is nice to hear how they are getting on and see them grow as you never forget the children you have cared for, it is positive when you look back and see the journey they have come along and how they have progressed.
"Training is essential and ongoing as it gives you the knowledge base to provide the care the child needs. There are different types of training (classroom and online) you can access depending on what skills you feel you need to develop on. Conwy are very supportive of this, we have accessed online training which is fantastic for us as we can fit it around our lifestyle. I have recently completed a number of courses this way which I have learnt a great deal from.
"We have now had the sibling group of two who have been with us for over two years and the long term plan is for them to remain in our care into adulthood. Throughout the assessment process we didn’t think we would want to provide a long term placement for a child as it is hard to imagine yourself providing this but now we couldn’t imagine not doing so.
"Recently we have been approved for another placement and currently are taking children up to the age of three as this age group is the most suitable match for our long term sibling placement.
“The children just want to be just like any other child and not labelled. Looking back, we can see they have blossomed – they have made friends, developed relationships with their own family, joined local groups and clubs, and now take pride in themselves and their appearance. Things are going well and the children are very much a part of our family going forward.
“Fostering is not easy but you’ll get there, it’s about committing to the child and working through things together, nothing happens overnight. You just want to help to guide the children in the right direction and enable them to learn new skills which will help them to become independent.
“Fostering has changed our lives – for the better! Being a Foster Carer is the most rewarding thing we have ever done, especially when you see the changes made to the child’s life. It isn’t easy, however, with the support of our family, friends, other foster carers, social workers and others, help is always at hand.”