Almondsbury based carers, Sue and Brian, have only one regret about their fostering career – they wish they’d started it earlier. They originally thought age might be a barrier for them, but realised that life experience was valued – they’ve now looked after 12 children and have enjoyed every minute of it.
Sue said: “For years we had considered becoming foster carers but the time was never right for our family. In 2011 we decided to become Support Housing Hosts for our neighbouring local authority where we supported a young mum and her new-born baby for 7 months. After this experience we both knew we wanted to be foster carers.
We contacted South Gloucestershire Council in 2012 and we began the fostering process, but to be honest I thought our ages might have been an issue as I was in my mid-fifties and my husband in his early sixties, or our faith or the fact that we were already a blended family as this wasn’t our first marriage might have been an issue for us. Luckily we didn’t let this put us off as it wasn’t an issue and we were approved in March 2013.
Over the years we’ve looked after many different placements including respite to give other foster carers an opportunity for a well-earned break, mothers and babies and several long term placements for teenagers. When we were first approved we wanted to foster siblings as we had a couple of spare rooms available but over the years we seem to foster teenage boys. We really enjoy encouraging them to try new experiences and learn new skills. We find them generally needing clear boundaries alongside affection and fun a sense of humour is a real bonus. They can be challenging but we find them so rewarding that’s not to say we don’t have to take a deep breath and change how we manage their behaviours. But that’s where the training and support comes in after five years I’m still putting new skills into practice. You’re never too old to learn a new and better way to support a child or teenager.
We love fostering, it’s the best thing we’ve ever done, it’s not always easy but we do receive a lot of support from the Family Placement Team and there are fantastic training opportunities. Fostering is something you need to commit to we’ve always loved kids and personally, we wish we’d done it even earlier in life.”
If Sue and Brian’s fostering story has inspired you, and you think you could welcome a child into your home we'd love to hear from you. Join us at one of our Fostering Information Sessions. Or if you would like further information, please fill in our Online Enquiry Form, call the Fostering Team on 01454 866423 or email firstname.lastname@example.org