Emma’s New Fostering Blog.
Hi. Let me introduce myself, my name is Emma and my blogs share many years of my own experiences of Fostering in working with children and Care leavers.
Hopefully you can begin to understand what being a Foster Carer is really like. My blogs refer to present day and some from the past and I have changed their names to protect their identity. It was a difficult time even back then, deciding whether to foster with a Local Authority or with an Independent Fostering Agency, I wasn’t really sure what I should be looking for and believed everything I was told, I just thought it would be similar to looking after my own children.
Foster Care is about providing excellent care, it’s also a job, and it is a multi-faceted role, which has inevitably had an impact on me as a foster carer and on my family. Since I have worked for both, so you could say I have seen both sides of the coin and to be honest they are both different, a smaller Independent Fostering Agency can have more of a family feel and the support can be greater, so my advice is to do your homework and decide on what’s important to you.
We all have different areas of expertise depending on our own experiences; mine was teenagers, I guess because at that time it fitted well with my own two daughters who were also teenagers, I thought this would work well and it did, I included my daughters from the start so they felt part of our fostering journey as this would also impact on their lives, they needed to understand how and in what ways they were likely to be affected, both positive and negative. Later when my daughters flew the nest, I did different types of fostering, some short term and then Permanence – longer term for children who have autism and learning difficulties.
I guess the most challenging part of fostering is acceptance of the child’s loss and grief that they bring and help them recover, to accept what has happened and then move toward healing. The most rewarding is when a child begins to trust you and they feel safe – in my experience you can gain the trust and respect of even the most challenging young person if you accept them, listen to them, you commit to them and you stick with them through difficult times. Then you can introduce new things because it is fun, and you know you have developed a positive relationship because they begin to identify with you, they accept the boundaries and they start to achieve and you know you made that difference happen.
I love what I do and I will continue to be that difference. I hope by reading my blogs they will give you an insight into how incredibly complex and challenging at times our job can be, yet so very rewarding and fun.
Emma – A Foster Carer – I Love What I Do!