I’m a relative newbie to the world of fostering. When I first started looking into becoming a foster carer, I definitely proceeded with caution.

Although I had wanted to be a foster carer for years, I wasn’t sure how I would find it.

I had so many questions before I started the process: Would I cope with the inevitable emotional challenges? What support would I have and would it be the right support? Would I actually be able to become foster carer?

I am a recently single (after 30 years of marriage), mid- fifties, part time self-employed woman, living in a rented house in a rural village. I also have two dogs; one with ‘fear aggression issues’ and a puppy who will soon become a large dog. 

With all these factors in my mind, I just didn’t know where I stood in the fostering system.
Trisha, Action for Children foster carer

And of course, I couldn’t help but ask myself: Would the fact that I had not parented my own child be a problem?

On the other hand, I am a step mum and have been for over 30 years. And I have decades of experience as a children’s and young people’s worker, and working in the NHS. These gave me a valuable tool box stuffed with skills and experience in child care.

What I also knew about myself, was that I am resilient, caring, and fortunate enough to be loved and supported by my family and friends.

More than anything, I knew I wanted to offer a child or children a loving safe place to live and grow.
Trisha, Action for Children foster carer

My head had a serious conversation with my heart. Then I spoke with my encouraging Social Worker from Action for Children. Off I went through the infamous “Form F” process and was approved in November 2014.

After that, I started providing interval care, as a way of testing out some of my anxieties around fostering. My confidence started to grow.

Earlier this year I was on the brink of having my first full time placement with a youngster I had come to know over a few months. I looked after them at weekends and during school holidays.

One lesson I learnt from that experience was that we are working in a sometimes less than perfect system.

 

The way we care can be our greatest strength and our greatest weakness too.
Trisha, Action for Children foster carer

What the system wants is carers who are willing to invest their all, yet who are able to not let their feelings get in the way when the going gets tough. That is a tough thing to balance, and one which I know I will always struggle with.

I have been supported to test out what feels like off the wall ideas and I have had a few bumps along the way. Yet, the drive to keep the child at the centre of what I am doing makes it all worthwhile. With the brilliant support from Action for Children, other carers, my family and my friends, I know I CAN do this.

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