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foster carer stories; changing a child's life

There have been lots of positive moments since we became foster carers, but a significant one was at our foster child's PEP meeting recently.  

 

During the meeting my supervising social worker and I were explaining to the SENCO at my foster child's new school how different my young person presents now in comparison to when they first came to live with us.

 

Although I could remember many of the changes myself there were several other differences and changes that my SSW was able to highlight and it was quite an eye-opener to realise just what an impact we have been able to make in this child's life with the training and support we have received from our agency and supervising social worker.

 

For example, when the child first came to live with us they were fragile and pale, with big dark circles under their eyes. They were shy and anxious and would hide if anyone came into the house.  They would refuse to say hello and were always quiet and hyper-vigilant. They had terrible nightmares every night.  Their speech was difficult to understand as they mispronounced nearly every word. School attendance and progress in reading was very poor. 


Their diet wasn't varied and they would not touch a vegetable or a piece of fruit. Screen addiction was an issue and any self-care activities were resisted. They were also completely unused to any type of exercise and frequently complained that their legs were hurting if we took them to the park. At the school gate they would stand silently holding my hand and didn't ever say hello to another child. 

 

Three years later and our foster child is almost unrecognisable. Their speech and pronunciation is now confident and clear. They have moved schools and are now so confident they are taking part in a school assembly to talk about children who are fostered and adopted.  They are popular at school and have loads of friends and get invited to numerous parties and playdates. They are happy to answer the door and to greet our guests and are always keen to engage any visitors in a game of cards. They eat and enjoy pretty much any meal that we serve including most vegetables, and they often ask for a piece of fruit for a snack.


a football on a pitch

 

They are a very happy child with lots of energy and they can run for ages, also participating in football and competitive trampolining. They now enjoy baths and showers and brush their teeth twice a day (although they still need reminding!)  They have a regular bedtime and look healthy and well.

 

Things have also completely turned around with regards to their education. They love school, have an excellent attendance record, and have made significant progress in closing their academic gaps. They love learning and are also proudly learning to play a musical instrument and are part of a band.

 

But most of all they are a delightful, affectionate child and we all very much see them as part of our family. They call us Mum and Dad and refer to our birth sons as their brothers, and our birth sons see our foster child as their sibling too.  

I don't think I would have believed it was possible to make such a huge difference to a child's life in such a short space of time. It has been an incredible privilege to bring our foster child into our family and to see how our love, support and encouragement has helped them to flourish and how they now have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

 

What other job could possibly be so rewarding and fulfilling?

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If you have been inspired by our foster carer stories and are interested in becoming a foster carer, visit our information page today.

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