Although challenging at times, fostering is an incredibly rewarding endeavour for all those involved. In fact, for many, it even changes lives.
The 9th – 22nd of May is Foster Care Fortnight. Foster Care Fortnight is The Fostering Network’s annual campaign to raise awareness about fostering and its ability to transform lives.
This year, Foster Care Fortnight’s theme is #FosteringCommunities – a theme that encourages members of the fostering community to share their stories and experiences.
With this theme in mind, we’re taking time this Foster Carer Fortnight to reflect on some of the brilliant stories and experiences from our community at Compass Fostering.
Transforming Foster Children’s Lives
At Compass, we are dedicated to improving the outcomes of all the children and young people in our care.
For a child that likely has experienced trauma and instability, being welcomed into a secure and loving foster home can transform their life.
It just goes to show that if you give a child encouragement and praise, there is no limit to what they can achieve.
Our foster carers provide the security and stability that is crucial for healthy childhood development.
Whilst in foster care, our children and young people are able to overcome developmental trauma and attachment issues, all while developing their confidence and self-esteem.
For Alison, one of our foster carers, one of the most rewarding parts of fostering is seeing the progress the child in her care has made.
When their four-year old foster son, A, first arrived, Alison recalls he was ‘broken, vacant and presented worrying behaviours.’ However, after plenty of patience, specialised care and love, A has made incredible progress.
‘We have all, including him, worked so very, very hard to find the beautiful, bright, clever and funny boy that now lives with us. We love him dearly and hope that his future home will be with us, into adulthood and beyond.’
Brian and Ruth, our foster carers from the South, also explained to us the incredible impact fostering has had on the lives of the children in their care. They have been fostering with us for over sixteen years now and are still in contact with many of their past foster children, all who have gone on to lead successful adult lives.
‘It just goes to show that if you give a child encouragement and praise, there is no limit to what they can achieve.’
Transforming Foster Carer’s Lives
It’s not only the lives of our children that fostering transforms. If you speak to any of our foster carers, you’ll likely hear a similar story: that fostering has changed their life in many ways.
The benefits of foster care for foster carers include building new skills through training and experiences, as well as teaching foster carers (and their families) new levels of kindness, empathy and acceptance.
Our birth children have thrived, shown compassion, and understanding. Our childminded children have shown respect, fascination, and kindness.
Our foster carers, Brian and Ruth, described how emotional their fostering experience has been throughout the years.
‘Over years we have had many tears. Tears not just of sad or hard times, but tears of joy when a child has achieved something that others had said they would never achieve. The joy when a child says to you, I love you, you’ve made a difference; you never gave up on me. These things don’t happen often, but when they do you feel proud of what you have done for that child.’
As aforementioned, fostering also impacts other members of the fostering household and surrounding community. Alex and Sue, two of our foster carers who are also childminders, are a great example of this. They described to us the incredible emotional development they have seen in their birth children and the children they childmind. All of which, they say, is a result of their decision to foster.
‘Our birth children have thrived, shown compassion, and understanding. Our childminded children have shown respect, fascination, and kindness.’
Like Alex and Sue, having A in Alison’s family has encouraged her older birth children to re-embrace their more childish side, which has helped A build courage and confidence.
Our children have revisited their early childhoods with fresh eyes and fresh enjoyment.
‘Our children have revisited their early childhoods with fresh eyes and fresh enjoyment. In helping him to have his early childhood they have allowed themselves to be children again, free from the angst of keeping up teenage appearances.’
One of our birth children from a foster family, E, went into further detail about her experience with her family’s fostering in a speech she wrote for her school. She wrote: ‘being a child of carers, I have experienced many things that others my age couldn’t say they have.’
‘Fostering can bring you pride and a sense of gratification. You can form amazing connections you never would have otherwise, which I have personally loved. I have been getting to know more people and hearing their stories.’
Our Fostering Community
At Compass, we know how important it is for foster carers to feel supported throughout their journey.
Becoming a foster carer is one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life.
Fostering can be undeniably tough at times, which is why we offer a variety of support and additional benefits for our carers.
Our foster carers are part of an extensive, welcoming community of fellow carers who meet up frequently for support groups and various events. In this community, our carers can form loving, supportive long-term friendships that last throughout their fostering journey.
Sarah joined us as a foster carer in March 2021. Initially, Sarah was concerned that she would not make a good foster carer because of her single relationship status. However, we saw the potential in Sarah, and, with our support and the support of her community, she has since gone on to make a real difference to the lives of the children in her care.
‘Becoming a foster carer is one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. Yes, it can be quite challenging at times, especially as a solo carer. But the help and support I receive from Compass is endless. No regrets, best decision ever and I wouldn’t change it for the world’.
Like Sarah, our foster carer Brian shared his thoughts on joining the wider fostering community and the support he has received as a result. For many of our foster carers,
‘When you start to foster you become part of a wider company and will meet many new friends at support groups and training. You might only meet up with these new friends occasionally, but you know they are always there for you as you are for them.’
What does #FosteringCommunities mean to you?
We absolutely love hearing about all the wonderful things our foster carers and their foster children achieve. If you’d like to share your thoughts on what #FosteringCommunities means to you, you can you can email your submissions into us here. Or you can send them to your supervising social worker to pass on.
Alternatively, if you’d like to find out more about becoming a foster carer with Compass, and joining our community, get in touch with us here.