To mark the second week of Foster Care Fortnight, we've got another one of our remarkable foster carers who are sharing their experiences.
This week Kelle Galloway, shares her fostering journey so far. Have a read of Kelle's story to see if you could take the life changing steps of becoming a foster carer...
Hi, I’m Kelle, I’m 34 and I’ve been fostering for almost five years.
I have a daughter of my own and three other children living with me at home. I used to be a manager for a worldwide coffee chain until I left to foster on a full-time basis.
I really loved my previous job, I was lucky enough to make fantastic memories and be involved in exciting projects, including traveling to Vietnam to open a school with the company’s charity. But I always felt there was something missing.
I’d always had a huge space in my heart for children and growing up thought I’d have a career working with children. I decided to make that change, I looked into different options but each time was drawn back to the idea of fostering. So I did it, made a phone call and here we are now!
I usually foster children who are anything up to 11 years old, but I always keep an open mind for older children. The ages of the children I currently have at home are 6, 9, 11 and 14. I offer short term, long term, emergency placements and respite. I’m also a family mentor and peer mentor supporting local Wirral families and fellow foster carers.
There are so many positives about fostering. I’ve found that no matter what happens, as a family we always pull together to support each other. We learn from each other every day and meeting children and families from different backgrounds has enabled us all to be more open minded and understanding of people’s circumstances.
Even though I’m only five years in to fostering, I could write a book on the amount of positive stories we have within our home. One that truly stands out is during a time when one of the children was struggling to make friends at school. She was getting unkind comments about being in foster care and this had a huge impact on her confidence and self worth.
Together we worked on rebuilding that and making sure she knew how important she was, supporting her to understand that people can fear what they don’t understand and react based off that.
I then had the shock of my life when she came home one day to tell me she was writing a speech about role models to read in front of the whole school. She stood up, loud and proud, and told everyone about being in care and how her Foster Carer was her biggest role model.
The teachers said there wasn’t a dry eye in the building and the applauses and cheers she got from her fellow students is a memory I will cherish for the rest of my life. The pride I felt that day, and still now will be hard to beat!
All children want is to feel loved, accepted and valued. Time is a huge healer and sometimes just being there for a child is the biggest cure. Patience is key and not giving up in a tricky situation even when you feel like you want to!
I chose to foster through Wirral Council’s Fostering Service because it’s the borough I live in and I wanted to support local families. Being part of Wirral Fostering is great, the support from our supervising social workers is commendable and you always have someone to talk to when you need an ear to bend.
If anyone is thinking about becoming a foster carer, just make the call, even if you’re just curious about it. Get your family involved and talk it through with those closest to you. Yes, at times it’s tough, but the reward you get from the children you support outweighs any rough day by miles.