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International Women's day articles series part 4 - A foster Mum

Mar 31, 2022: 

In part 4 of this series we hear the inspirational experiences of a dedicated foster carer, Mum, wife and advocate.  

What attracted you to fostering?

I have always wanted to foster from a very young age.  I had friends who were in a care homes and also my friends parent's fostered.  It was something that pulled on my heart strings.  I also started volunteering and working for a charity who mentored children in care, I then became an advocate for children in care / facilitating a local children in care council and organising activities / residentials and holiday activities.  

Upon meeting young people in care you soon realise that all most of them want is to be cared for, supported, loved and to be in a warm caring home with food and routine.   

Is the reality of fostering what you imagined it to be?  If not why not?
Yes to a certain extent, there are ups and downs in all jobs and responsibilities.  It can be very hard work very full on at times and never underestimate what is next.. ... 

The rewards of fostering and the enjoyment of helping children through one of the most difficult times of their life makes you carry on despite sometimes having to go through a lot of stress, worry and hardship with some children.

What does it mean to be a woman and a mother to you?
Being a woman and a mother means I have to be organised structured , have fun, set boundaries but also allow those boundaries to be pushed to the limit and find solutions to resolve them.  As a woman I care for myself make sure I have self worth and make a difference empowering others.  

As a mother I have to care for my family providing love and support to my own children and to the children we foster.  Everyone receives a warm welcome and given all the opportunities possible to become the person they want to be.  

Guiding them through life empowering them to be successful have fun and enjoy life with no regrets is important
Memories are very important especially with young children.  

What has been your highest high and lowest low of being a Foster Carer? 
Highest high-  changing a young persons life, supporting them through their ups and downs to make life-long changes and give them opportunities they may have missed out on, but for our intervention. 

Lowest low-  unfortunately we can not help everyone and some young people have left us earlier than expected as they were not ready to be in a family environment and did not allow us to support them.

What has been the hardest thing about being a Mum and a Foster Carer?
Keeping everything going and never stopping.  Structuring life and support to all 5 children a husband and two dogs can be exhausting but you find the strength to carry on with support from family / friends and the fostering has a good support structure to Guide you through.

Whats the best thing about being a Mum? 
Waking up every morning and having cuddles with your children and spending and hour or two in the mornings and evenings. We love watching Disney films / Netflix together / you tube together. 

Would you recommend to other women to become foster carers and would it matter if they were not Mums already?
Fostering is a very rewarding career you learn new things every day that helps me be a better mum and better foster carer.  Both go hand-in-hand however.  Not having children you can still be a great foster carer.  All you need is to have the ambition to help support young people fulfil their aspirations guide them through life and help them make the best possible choices.  You are not alone when you foster there is a structure in place that supports the child.  You provide the safe home, love and the day to day support and routine to allow them to achieve and have some normality in their life. 

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