Foster Carer Stories

Dreams come true.

Stories are the way we pass on knowledge. As children, we learn about life, about love, about everything from stories. As an adult, we do too. Just not from colourful books.

Our carers have a variety of stories – no two the same. A carer’s story could be of how they were fostered and wanted to pay it back. A carer could have a story of an empty nest, and that desire to be a parent driving them to help those less fortunate.

Or the story could simply be of a carer who’d never thought about fostering till someone told them their story.

So, let’s let the carers tell their stories below.

Foster Carer Stories

Hi I’m Sylvia and with Dave my husband we have been foster carers with Blackburn for the past 41 years (if you say it quick it doesn’t sound so bad)

 

Currently we are sharing our home with two young people a young man who is now 19 he came to us when he was 9yrs old and a young lady of 17 who has shared our lives for the last 18months.

 

The last couple of months have been different with lockdown and the virus but we are coping pretty well and working together.

 

Many people say to us how do you cope with teenagers all the time, well the answer is easy we like them  and it gives us great satisfaction knowing we can help and guide them through difficult times and watch them develop into adulthood and useful lives. It’s a privilege for us to be able to do this.

 

I would say to anyone who has considered fostering young people to bite the bullet and start your enquiry off to see if it’s for you.  You could be on the way to a fantastic career.  We have never regretted  it.

 

Sylvia and Dave.

Peter and Paula Quinn applied to become long-term foster carers for Blackurn with Darwen after their own two sons had grown up.

The couple wanted to offer children a stable home and started fostering two brothers aged 12 and 13.  Seven years later, the eldest brother – now almost 21 is still living with them under the “staying put” initiative.  Since that initial venture into fostering, Peter and Paula have also offered short term, emergency fostering to another sibling group and now have a 12 year old on a long term placement, who has been with them for over a year.

Paula, explains: “We didn’t want to foster short term (although we did do a one off emergency placement for a short term period). We decided from the outset that we wanted to foster older children and that we wanted them long term. There’s no benefit in children being passed from pillar to post, if they’re in one place for a good length of time it offers them stability”.

Peter, added: “It was just the right time for us; our lads were getting older, which is another reason why we wanted older children and preferably boys – so they could relate to them and act as role models.” (The couples grown up youngest son still lives in the family home).

 “There’s no harm in making that first call to find out more about fostering”, Paula added.

Their experience inspired two friends who were asked to provide character witnesses as part of Peter and Paula’s application to apply to foster too.

Paula adds: “My friend, whom I have known all my life, was asked to provide a reference for us when we were going through the initial process. Whilst doing so, her and her husband expressed an interest in also becoming foster carers.  They are now respite carers – a role which they have done for almost six years now)”

On the 24th January 2020 I got an emergency placement.

The first couple of day are always a little strange, like being a comedian and telling the first few jokes to test the water and to find the level in your audience.

The young lady was quite traumatised and had quite a few panic attacks. I recommended some apps that are designed to calm your breathing and help you through the quite terrifying feelings and talked to her about focusing on something stable and grounded.

When she wanted to talk, we chatted if she seemed happy to be quiet we were quiet.

She was emotionally drained so we relaxed and watched films in silent companionship and ate good food.

Gradually she told her story.

It was only during one of her college courses and learning about abuse that she realised that she was in fact suffering abuse and had been for most of her life.

There had been a lot of control and physical abuse at home but despite the fact that she  had been under the care of the mental health services she had not identified the cause until the light bulb moment.

She took one of her tutors into her confidence and then things moved quickly as she brought into care.

One of her biggest issues was her sexuality, and that caused an increase in tensions at home. We discussed it at length and I told her often that she owed no one an explanation it was her life. She was almost 17 yet had not been allowed to cut her hair.

I made an appointment and she had a dramatic asymetric bob which really suited her. It gave her lots of confidence too.

This was prior to lock down so we managed to get out for a few lovely meals and walks on the beach. Calming walks out to the sea.

We went to Manchester too something she really enjoyed.

We both cried when she moved on but have kept in touch. She apologises sometimes for not being consistent in her contact. I tell her I am only at the end of the phone if she wants to reach out.

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Events

If you'd like the opportunity to chat with someone about fostering there are information events across the region. To find one near you take a look at our events page.

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Fostering

There are many different types of fostering, there may even one that appeals to you, find out more.

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