Theresa had always considered fostering. After adopting two children who have now gone on to lead fulfilling lives, she had wanted to give other young people a loving, supportive childhood. So, once she met her current husband who wanted to do the same, they started their career in foster care.
At the end of August 2019, the couple welcomed their first foster child to the family home and have since enjoyed many happy times. Initially, it was challenging as Theresa explains; “Our young boy arrived in a complete state of turbulence. He was unhappy so he was crying and fighting and did not want to be in school.
“It has been challenging to undo the emotional damage that he has experienced, but we spent a lot of time with him, showing him the support and care he needs, and he has now calmed down, attending school and appreciative of us standing by him. We know this as he helps out around the house as much as he can, joining in with the cooking, laying the table, that sort of thing, to feel included.”
When facing that initial challenge, Theresa found it important to always be clear and honest with him. “We set clear boundaries when he arrived. Those consistent boundaries made it clear what was right and wrong, but also allowed him to have plenty of fun. We always explain why things are the way they are.
“For example, if he makes a mess and this has to be cleared up, we ensure he knows that this is time we could have spent playing. By helping him understand why something is wrong, it’s been useful for him to learn not to do it again.”
The experience has already given the family so many rewarding memories. They’ve started to see their foster child blossom into a more relaxed, happy boy. However, there has been one moment that has stood out from the rest, as Theresa reveals.
“The most important moment for us so far has been when he decided and voiced that we were his family. He now sees our home as a safe space where he can be himself and have fun. That’s been so rewarding for us to experience.”
“He gives us so much joy every day. Seeing him jump in puddles and get excited about snow a few weeks ago, it’s incredible. When he first came to us, we wouldn’t have seen any of that happy behaviour.”
And, with Christmas approaching, the family are set for even more enjoyment. “Every year, we have a tradition where we all create gingerbread houses. This year, the children will come home and all together, we’ll make beautiful houses! We’re also planning on making a large one for the little one’s class at school.”
For Theresa, Christmas is all about family; “Our foster child has integrated seamlessly with everyone and is considered as another member of the family. This year, there will be plenty of family meals, games, carol singing, we’ll even be sledding if it snows!”
“In the run up to the big day, we’ll be making decorations together. On Christmas, we’ll have some festive waffles for breakfast before he can open some presents. We’ve got him books, Lego, science kits and a scooter!”
Overall, fostering has given the family so many rewarding moments. As Theresa explains; “It’s not easy, but they quickly become part of the family. It helps that Fosterplus have been so supportive though. Our social worker is always there for us and helps us with absolutely everything we need.”
“We’ve put the time and energy into helping our foster child heal and he’s flourished into such an absolute poppet. Especially with Christmas coming up, it’s reminded us how nothing else compares to seeing the world through a child’s eyes.”
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Richard shares his experience as a single foster parent and caring for a vulnerable young person during a pandemic.
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