Become a foster carer to make a huge difference to a child’s life

A teenager has summed up his appreciation for his foster mum with a heartfelt thank you for turning his life around.

The 14-year-old boy told his ‘second mum’ she would always have ‘a very big place in his heart’ as she always made the time to lift him back up when he was feeling down.

The boy, who is under the care of South Gloucestershire Council, wrote: “I can’t repay the debt I owe to you…you turned my life around when I needed you the most.”

The boy’s words demonstrate the positive difference foster carers make to children’s lives at a time when other adults may have turned their backs on them.

This is one of many stories that will hopefully encourage more people to open up their homes and hearts to children and young people who have had a difficult start in life.

South Gloucestershire Council will be highlighting the rewards of fostering at an Information Evening on Tuesday, September 20 to help meet the demand for more foster homes.

The 14-year-old shared his feelings about his foster mum with a hand-written letter inside her Mother’s Day card.

The boy, who has been in care for six years, wrote: “You’re like a second mum to me, no-one can replace you.

“What makes you so special is that you get me back up again and when I’m about to give up, you say ‘keep at it and never ever stop trying, you’ll always get to your dream if you try.’

“You say ‘the world is your oyster, make it what you want.’”

The teenager’s foster mum admits to shedding a tear when she read the words from the boy who hadn’t previously opened up about his feelings.

She said: “It was the first time he had taken the time to write exactly what he was feeling. I wouldn’t have thought a teenage boy would be quite so deep, but his words were just so lovely.

“He even remembers what I say to him, word for word. For him to quote me, that meant a lot.

“It was one of those little moments that make fostering all the more worthwhile. After all the ups and downs, it’s great to be recognised and thanked.”

The mum-of-three has fostered more than 16 children and young people, as well as a mother and baby placements, since 2011. She said it was incredibly touching how her foster son now felt comfortable enough to express his feelings and say that he loves her.

She added: “He had a really difficult start in life but he’s doing really well. It’s been a long journey but he’s now like a completely different boy.

“I’m so proud of how much he has achieved, he’s now in a really good place.”

There are currently about 100 foster carers across South Gloucestershire, with a current priority to recruit more people who can care for teenagers, sibling groups, children with additional needs and unaccompanied asylum seekers.

Foster carers need to be aged over 21, have a spare bedroom, and the time, commitment and flexibility to care for a child.

Anyone who is interested in fostering can find out more at the drop-in session at the council offices in Badminton Road, Yate, on Tuesday, September 20 from 7pm to 9pm. Social workers will be on hand to answer any questions and existing foster carers will be sharing their passion for fostering.

For further information visit www.fostersouthglos.org.uk call 0800 2061443 or email fostering@southglos.gov.uk