Welcoming a foster child into your home can impact the lives of not only your foster child, but family life too – especially if you are fostering with a birth child still living in the family home.
Many foster carers already have birth children living in the family home when they decide to foster a child. While fostering with a birth child can sometimes be challenging at first, the the strong bond that is built between birth children and their new foster siblings can have a wealth of positive impacts for both sides.
Sharing their time, attention and belongings with a foster can teach birth children valuable life lessons, helping them to develop into a more selfless person as they get older. Foster and birth children can also be positive role models for one another. Their individual life experiences can help teach one another about social, religious, and cultural backgrounds different to their own.
E is the 14-year-old birth child of two of our foster carers in the South. Her family have been fostering and providing respite care for some time now. In this beautiful speech written for her school, E described the ways in which fostering has had an influence on her life.
You can read her speech below.
My parents became foster carers three years ago. After one year of rigorous checks, applications, and training, we became an official fostering family.
When I first told people that my parents were planning to foster, they thought that meant adoption. They had the idea that I was suddenly going to have a load of new siblings living in my house.
Being a child of carers, I have experienced many things that others my age couldn’t say they have. I don’t know any other children of foster carers. I believe this is because not many families foster which I think is very understandable considering the nature of the job and the level of challenge it can bring to the family dynamic.
Despite these factors, 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.
I believe more people should consider fostering. Over 65,000 children live with almost 55,000 foster families. This is nearly 80% of the 83,000 children in care. Because of this, thousands of new foster families are needed each year. Of course, fostering is not for everyone, however I feel like it should be spoken about more.
Prior to the pandemic, in England there was a need for around 7,000 more foster families. Covid has affected fostering in a huge way. There has been a 44% rise in children needing to enter foster care. Inquiries about being a foster carer have dropped by 47%. This has created a state of emergency that needs to be fixed.
So why have I told you this? I’ve told you this because I feel that fostering should be more widely known about and spoken about. I hope that I have helped to help you start to understand what it’s like to be part of a fostering family.
We’d like to say a huge thank you to E for sharing her speech with us! It’s so important for others to know about how fostering can have a positive impact on your family dynamic.
If you think you could make a difference to the life of a young person, and are interested in becoming a foster carer, you can get in touch with us here.
You can also find more about the different types of fostering we offer here.