Liz shares her experiences of becoming a foster carer in the November edition of our fostering newsletter. You can view the newsletter written for our foster carers here.
"We have been married for 23 years and have a 22 year old son, called Reece. We toyed with having a second child but then decided after much debating that we would stick with just the one. However, this all changed when I was working in the primary school.
"There was one little boy who was 8 years old. The social worker, from a different authority outside of Doncaster, were struggling to find a long term placement for him. His younger siblings were adopted and he was desperate in his words for ‘an ever mum and dad’. I went home from work one day and told Eddie we were going to have him…he laughed but then realized I was serious! Initially we were going to adopt him but we decided to do a Special Guardianship Order (SGO) and he was placed with us as connected persons. He came to live with us and the SGO was granted. His surname was legally changed to ours as part of the SGO so we finally got there.
"When the SGO went through we really wanted to foster again but this time on a short-term basis to start with and then if a match was good we would consider long term. Despite the ups and downs with fostering the first time round we really just wanted to give a child a home for however long it is needed and experiences that they might have never had before. We love days out at the seaside, BBQs, trips to the zoo and some children have never experienced these things.
"We approached Trust Fostering in November 2020 and I spoke with Laura in the fostering team. Laura sounded so friendly and positive on the phone and when she promised to ring back a few days later to check we were still interested, she did. To us, this is a big thing as it sets the scene really for what to expect from the Trust. We were booked on for an information session.
"We found out about Mockingbird which sounded really good and we got a really positive feeling from the information event. From then, we were booked onto the Skills for Fostering Training which we attended in February 2020.The three day training was done via Microsoft Teams and we both really enjoyed the Skills for Fostering. We both got a lot from the training and again it made us really know that fostering was for us.
"The whole process was really straightforward and our assessing social worker, Barbara made the process even better. We were in contact with Barbara at least every week and she kept us up to date with what else was needed every step of the way.
"Barbara was so easy to talk to and we found the assessment process quite therapeutic! When Eddie and I did individual bits where we talk about our childhood it created a lot of conversation as we were brought up very different. Talking about raising our birth child and our 2nd child (on the SGO) it made us realise how much we are on the same page and that we work well together…most of the time!
"The assessment flew by and we got a panel date in June. We were very excited and nervous. Panel was a lot less scary than we thought it would be. Barbara was there so we saw 2 friendly faces and the chair put us at ease. We were asked a couple of questions but they weren’t anything we couldn’t answer as they were related to bits in our panel report. Nothing was asked to ‘catch you out’ and obviously there were no wrong answer. Half an hour after the start of panel and our technical issues and we were recommended for approval. We celebrated by going out and buying a new fridge freezer! We know how to celebrate. We have missed seeing Barbara although at least we still get to see her on some training!
"I have since attended lots of training through the Trust and it is really good to hear from other foster carers. I have also attended a few new carers support groups which again are really good to hear how things are going with new carers, the highs and the lows.
"We are ready now for a little girl or boy to come to us and cannot wait to start our fostering journey. Every time the phone rings I am hoping it is the call but I’m sure when it comes I will go into a mad panic.
"We have loved our fostering journey so far and would definitely recommend Trust to anyone considering fostering. We cannot praise Barbara and all the team enough."