I’m Paul. My wife and I are from Suffolk and have been fostering now for 3 years. Before fostering I worked in the Caring sector, caring for elderly people and young people with learning disabilities. I am now a retired grandfather. My wife contuinues to work part-time as a counsellor and whilst we share the care of our foster child, I suppose you could say that I am the main carer.
We began to foster our child pretty much as soon as we were approved and she has been with us ever since. Fostering has been a life-changing experience. We have come to love our child and have invested significantly in her emotionally. We have loved to watch her begin to overcome some of the difficulties she experienced in early life and to get a glimpse of the young woman she could become. We’ve seen her grow emotionally, academically and socially. But of course, it hasn’t all been plain sailing.
We have learned so much about child psychology, about the impact of early life experiences on behaviour and development. But we have also learned a lot about ourselves. We’ve often had to stand back and look at our own responses, reactions and feelings to situations. We believe that this has been a hugely positive and empowering thing.
Our overriding feeling is that fostering is a rewarding and life-affirming thing to do but it is very important to be well supported. Eastern Fostering Services has been particularly good at being available to listen and to respond to problems or concerns that we’ve had. They have arranged for us to have regular respite so that we can get space and perspective and enjoy time with our grandchild. They’ve spent time with our foster child and know her very well. Whenever we call the office, we know that whoever we speak to will know who we are, who our child is and will understand any of the issues that she might be experiencing. Believe me, this makes a big difference.
To anyone thinking of fostering, I would strongly recommend it but I would advise careful thought and discernment when choosing the right fostering provider. Make sure you get a strong sense that they can offer you excellent support and training.
If you want to find out more about fostering, visit us at www.easternfosteringservices.com or come along to one of our events in Essex, Suffolk or Cambridgeshire.