Paula and her husband Mark have been foster carers for Conwy County Borough Council for nearly twenty years.
When Mark fractured his spine at work, he had to give up his job and the injury prompted a career change for both of them. Here, Paula shares their story about the importance of working together as a family and the enjoyment of welcoming their foster children into their home.
“Our family life is like a revolving door. We have three young girls living with us now who all get on really well… But we also have all the young people that we’ve looked after for years, still coming back with their children!”
“On a Sunday we can have everybody turn up, past and present, for a meal that Mark cooks. The numbers are getting bigger and bigger and varies from 12 people to 20 people every week! Even though some of them are now adults with their own families, they’re still coming back to us because they still need the parental advice and support”.
“The girls that we currently foster are very accepting and tolerant of the amount of people who come through our front door. They realise that they get our full attention when it’s needed, but when there’s something going on with anyone else who’s left home and needs our support, they’re very good at taking a back step and supporting us to help whoever’s in need… Our own birth children are brilliant too, because if we’re not around, our kids that we’ve got now, and past children will go to them if they need to! Between us all we’ve created one massive support network”.
“So when we are surrounded by our family at the Sunday table we think, how quickly they’ve all grown up… some of them were very young children when they came to us and some of them are now adults. Quite a lot of them are well-adjusted people and sound a lot like Mark and I! They always talk about the values they’ve learned from us and the way they’re bringing up their own children is very similar to what we’ve taught them. It’s nice that they all still have a connection with us”.
“There are times when you think, is it time now to do something different? But I wouldn’t do anything differently now because I think the children need us more. When things go wrong, it’s a bit like a tsunami. It comes in like a giant wave and disappears just as quickly. The children and young people need us, but I think we need them, just as much too”.
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