Making a difference

I have been with the National Fostering Agency for six years. A typical mid-week day starts at 7am, when I start to wake the children for school. I’m a single carer and have two daughters, along with two foster children. The ages of the children are very close – 12, 11, 8 and 7, with three girls and one boy.

Morning routine goes smoothly as long as everyone gets up at different times and the mornings are staggered, breakfast at table, brush teeth and out the door. 

I come back home from the school run and start my housework, plan the evening meal, catch up on some paperwork and before I know it the school bell is about to ring so it’s off again to collect the children. Coming in from school, all children get out of school clothes and down stairs for a snack before supper. Everyone catches up with their day and decides what they will do with their time until 5.30pm. They can do homework, relax or see their friends.

Over the years in my fostering career, every day is a learning day. Seeing kids blossom and thrive is what keeps me going. I love my job, albeit many challenges come my way, but the training and support offered keeps me on top. Each day I wake thankful for making a difference in the children’s lives. Overcoming struggles takes time; providing a safe, happy, loving home is key to a bright future.

5.30pm is my favourite time. Everyone around the table sharing stories and telling of what they learned at school, likes and dislikes, thoughts and beliefs. The two oldest children help with dishes while I sit with the youngest and help with homework or have some play time.

Bedtime routine starts with the youngest showered and in bed with a story, sleeping for 8pm. The second youngest is in bed for 8pm, showered and settled, bed time story, then sleeping for 8.30pm. The oldest girls come in from walking our pet dog to then be settled in their rooms by 9pm, lights out for 9.30pm.

This is now my time to put the kettle on and relax, prepare my house for the next day’s events. There are no two days the same in the life of fostering. Each day brings new challenges and goals to be set. I’m a stickler for routine as this is key to a safe, happy and structured day, which the kids thrive on.

Having four kids makes my life very busy. The week is set out, structured and keeps very much the same, but at weekends we have fun, where we go out and do activities which we all enjoy. This is how we like to unwind.

The rewards of settling children into a family and helping a child achieve their goals. 

My birth children have had their eyes truly opened by fostering. This has made them think of others in a way they may have never been exposed to. The girls understand the complexities of fostering and realise that they cannot always be the centre of attention. 
One of the best things about fostering is the satisfaction of making a difference in a child’s life. 
I have recognised how happy a child can become with some patience and support. 
There are no negatives to fostering in my opinion and it widens your family unit. 
The learning for all family members has been invaluable.

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