Fiona’s story: The most rewarding part of fostering is seeing the transformation of the children.
So when single mum of three, Fiona, saw that after many busy years her family’s life at home was settled and her own children were thriving, she realised there was room for that care and contentment to be extended to others.
“I had my own business for many years,” Fiona says. “But I eventually gave it up as I found it difficult trying to juggle work with school commitments – I often needed to be in two different places at the same time.
“When I became a part time chef - life became less frantic, I spent more time at home and I loved it. As our home and family life was going so well and we were all happy and content, it occurred to me that my home would be a lovely environment for a foster child to live in.
We discussed it as a family, but didn’t go for it straight away. When my oldest son left to go to university, my other children asked if we were still going to foster and encouraged me to make the call to Wirral Fostering Service. I did - and it has proved to be the most important phone call I have ever made
Fiona is 55 now and has been fostering in Wirral for seven years. When she started, her youngest son was five years old and Fiona decided she wouldn’t want to foster a child who was older than he was. Now he is 12, there is greater flexibility in the age of child that Fiona will take in as a placement.
She adds: “I’ve been extremely lucky with the children who’ve been placed with me. They’ve all moved on and seem to enjoy a much more enriched life than before they came to us - it’s so rewarding to know that we might have played a part in that.
“The children we’ve fostered have either been adopted, moved on to longer-term foster placements or they’ve been able to go and live with members of their own extended family.
I have kept in touch with many of the children I’ve cared for and made strong, long-lasting friendships with their new families.”
Fiona says she registered to foster with Wirral Council as she wanted to make sure local children in need of care got to stay in their own area, rather than have to go somewhere they didn’t know. She also stressed that the application process was thorough, but supportive – which made a big difference when making such a life-changing decision.
The assessment took about six months. Even though it was very thorough, I really looked forward to my social worker visits. She accompanied me to fostering panel and before I knew it, I became an approved Foster Carer. Better still she would stay as my Supervising Social Worker.
The most rewarding part of fostering is seeing the transformation of the children.
"They can come in frightened and scared, often showing signs of neglect, low confidence - even malnourishment. By the time they are ready to move on, they are happy, healthy, confident and doing well in school.
“To anyone considering fostering I would say ‘stop thinking about it and just make that phone call - you definitely won’t regret it. Like it was for me, it may just turn out to be the most important phone call you ever make
If you or someone you know has room in their home and heart to foster, or even if you are thinking about it and have questions and just want an informal chat, please get in touch. You can email email@example.com, call us on 0151 666 4616, or visit the website wirralfostering.org for more information.