Our family has been fostering for over 25 years and our youngest was still a teenager when we started and now our grandchildren are very much involved with our foster children and accept them as part of our family.
They have made some really lovely friendships along the way. We have worked with all ages from babies to teenagers, from long term to emergencies and quickly realised that every child is different.
I have always worked with children, so fostering just seemed to be the most natural thing for us a family and the joy we get from doing the most simple things with foster children, like walking the dog, going to the beach, having fun, has kept us going all over the years, even at the difficult times.
Children are so open and honest, sometimes a certain look or drop of the head tells you how they are feeling and how much they are hurting inside. I have learnt so much about my own instincts and how to tune into each child. The rewards of seeing these children turn themselves around makes our job worthwhile.
If they only take a bit of the memories of their time with us, then we feel we have achieved something. Seeing them go back to their families is the best outcome of all.
We have kept in touch with so many of the children and their families over the years and many of them now have children of their own.
If you are thinking of fostering then our advice would be to listen to your gut, ask lots of questions and always be open and honest in everything that you do.