Kashjelle, aged 18, is part of a St Christopher’s foster family in West Bromwich, West Midlands. For Sons and Daughters Month she has shared her experiences of fostering and why she thinks every family should give it a go.
How long has your family been fostering for?
My mum and dad have been fostering for four years and have looked after the same girl in all that time. She was only three years old when she moved in with us.
How did you feel when your parents first spoke to you about fostering?
They told me they wanted to foster a couple of years before they started the application process to be approved as carers. My twin sister and I were really happy as we had always wanted a younger sibling but we didn’t really know what to expect.
Once you started fostering, was it different to how you imagined?
When we first started fostering I was much younger so I didn’t quite understand the significance of what a foster carer does. As I’ve grown up I’ve learnt a lot more.
It’s so important to understand the child’s needs. When you know their background and how they came to be in the care system it means you are better prepared to get them to feel comfortable in your home. You can’t go in blind.
What has been your favourite thing about being part of a foster family?
It has been amazing to see my foster sister grow up. She has learning needs, like speech and developmental delay – she couldn’t speak much when she first moved in with us but now she’s so chatty! It’s rewarding to see we’ve all made a difference to her life.
I like playing an active role and doing the fun things with her like taking her out for a treat if she does her reward chart, but I always try to help her with homework too so that she can learn and improve.
What would you say to other people whose parents are thinking about fostering?
I think all families should try it! I don’t regret it and am so glad we’ve had the opportunity.
You get lots of help from the St Christopher’s fostering team, your social worker visits to check how you are getting on and thinks about everyone in the household. At the start of the application before we even became a foster family, they asked me and my sister if we also wanted to do it too not just my parents. It was good they kept checking in and seeing how they could help.
Fostering has not only made a difference to the child we are looking after but has built stronger bonds within our family. Before we used to all stay in our bedrooms but now we spend time together in the living room, playing games. My family and I speak together about caring for her, which has made us closer.
When I’m older I want to foster so it can have the same positive impact on my own children that it’s had on me.
Are you ready to become a foster family? Enquire with St Christopher’s today to request a call back or ring 0800 234 6282 for a chat with our friendly team.
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