Meet Stacey and find out why she chose fostering
My husband, Simon, and I have been foster carers for four years. We have a birth daughter who is now 6, but was only 2 and a half years old when we began our fostering journey. Fostering was always in the forefront of our minds when going through our life, but the time just wasn’t right. We wanted to have our own children first and make sure our accommodation was right to begin the journey. In February 2014, our daughter was born. Then, sadly, in December 2014 my mum passed away, after a short battle with cancer. Towards the end of 2015, we moved to a new house and decided, as a family, that this was the right time to extend our family and begin fostering. We haven't looked back since. I am now a full-time mum and foster carer and Simon works a full-time job.
When we knew that we were making the move to Bedfordshire, we began our search into fostering. I typed ‘Fostering in Bedfordshire’ into Google and up popped Central Bedfordshire Council. I made an initial call to enquire about becoming a fostering family and explained that we were due to move into the area within the next month or so.
When I made the call, I spoke to a very friendly social worker. I explained our situation and our want to find out more and she was great. She made me feel warm and excited and was really easy to speak to. Once in Bedfordshire, an initial visit was planned and was worked around all of us. Of course, it's intrusive, but I expected that due to the nature of fostering. Our assessing social worker also made it clear, from the initial visit, what would be required from us and also our family and friends. The assessment started in the October and by the following February, we were fully fledged foster carers.
Since becoming foster carers back in 2016, we have had the privilege of having five children being placed within our home (not including respite, emergency and day-care). The social side of fostering has been a great way for our family to learn more and also gain new friends. It has also been important for our daughter to gain more of an understanding, by mixing with lots of other fostering families. The training, right from the start, has been great and we have learnt more and more as time goes on. Fostering is one of the hardest, BUT the most rewarding, jobs you could ever do. The extended family we have now and in the future is truly special.
We’ve worked with some great supervising social workers along the way, who have really understood our family and have been really supportive. We have also been lucky to work with good children’s social workers, who have really listened to what we have to say and respected our opinions and input. That also applies to other professionals that we have come across. We have worked hard to become respected foster carers and are well known in children’s services.
Highlights for the family
Well there have been a few! Every time a child comes into our home, then moves on, it's a massive highlight and something we are proud of every single time. These children come into our home as one child and leave as a completely different child, for the better. Giving someone else that forever gift is the best feeling in the world (even if it does break my heart every time).
We have also been lucky enough to be invited to the Queen's Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, for all our hard work as foster carers. A day we will never forget, we were lucky enough to meet Prince Charles, Camilla and Princess Anne.
Other highlights have been receiving in-house awards for our contribution to fostering services and our daughter was also recognised as being a fabulous daughter for all her efforts.
The biggest change for the family has been extending it permanently, by one, after a short-term placement came and never left. From the minute he walked through our door, he was part of the family and there was something about him that made us feel he would be here for a very long time. We’re now so proud to say he will.
I’m always wanting to shout about fostering from the rooftops and am always willing to take part in any media campaigns, videography, meetings, training etc! Along with two other foster carers, I've appeared on BBC Three Counties Radio to promote fostering.
If anyone is thinking about fostering or becoming a fostering family, please just go for it. Pick up the phone, go online and have that initial visit. I guarantee you won’t look back and it will be the best decision you make!
Talk to us about fostering
We welcome anyone considering fostering to get in touch to find out more, we are happy to answer any questions you may have.
Telephone: 0300 300 8181
Start your fostering journey with us today, we’ll be with you every step of the way.