Fostering has the unique ability to present carers with many changeable and unexpected scenarios that require careful and sensitive management.
Emma’s story is particuarly challenging and heartfelt. Managed with absolute professionalism as she navigates a disability and sibling foster care together with The CFT.
What made you consider becoming a foster carer?
Adoption has been a big part of my family; we have an adopted Aunt, so I was aware of fostering and adoption from a young age. My aunt fosters for Barnardo’s and I wanted to give children a loving family and give something back.
What made you pick The CFT? How long was the process?
The assessment process was 8 months long when I applied.
I moved from another agency which lost its family feel and became very corporate. We liked that The CFT had a large family feeling and wasn’t all about money. The fact they were a charity really appealed to me and I knew another carer who highly recommended them. I’d heard lots of stories of how they had helped previous foster children and that sealed the deal.
We had recently re-done our assessment with our previous agency as it had been taken over so it was an easy process for us. The transfer was really simple and I wasn’t nervous about the process at all, we knew several staff already and met Joe the registered manager.
How did you deal with your first foster placement? Did you have to overcome any difficulties?
My first foster placement was a little girl and her baby brother with complex needs, we had her first and he was just coming out of the hospital, he was deaf and blind, he used to stop breathing if he got upset and a lot of the hospital staff didn’t want to work with him as they were scared.
I visited him in hospital for 2 weeks before I took him home, the first time I met him, I was warming up the wipes to change his nappy and was super nervous. I got a teddy I had slept with for a couple of days and put it in his cot.
After 2 weeks of visiting and doing all the feeding training, I came to visit him and he put his arms out to me.
We have been fully supported by CFT, we had a tricky referral and felt like social services were pushing us into something we didn’t want – Joe took charge as he knew we were being pushed. Our foster baby with complex needs was in the hospital for 21 days and we wouldn’t leave him, our social worker kept in touch every day and even brought food in on her days off to the hospital.
If you could give 1 piece of advice to people who are considering foster care, what would it be?
Over the years I have learnt to be flexible and go with the flow of the kids, it’s more exciting than nerve-racking when having a new placement, they are so scared when they come and it’s about making them feel comfortable and safe.
Any nerves you do have you have to push through, once the child is there, you don’t have time for nerves.
I don’t think the CFT could do anymore to support us, that’s my experience. We have found them to be highly supportive and got that large family feeling back. They are committed to training and I’m impressed that they don’t just do the usual courses, they go out of their way to find courses that are relevant to the children we have.
Disability and sibling foster care
Foster care is a rollercoaster of emotions, dedication and professionalism that requires so much more than a list of ‘traits’. Emma demonstrates everything that makes foster carers special. To understand and show such compassion in the face of disability and sibling foster care is amazing.
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