Valerie and Patrick have been Foster Carers for two years and have fostered a number of children from Waltham Forest. They share their story of why they became a foster carer and what the experience has been like so far for them.
We have been Waltham Forest foster carers for two years. We have cared for seven children aged between five and 18 and currently have three children with us.
We considered fostering for a long time and once our birth children had grown up and had gone to University we had the space to do this. We both had a lot of experience of working with young people through parenting our own children and the youth department in our church.
Patrick was a Youth Leader, taking children out camping and organising running groups and sports day. I was and still am a Sunday School teacher. I have always lived in Waltham Forest and wanted to help on our own door step, there is so much need within our own community. A few of the children we have fostered have gone to schools that I attended as a young person and it’s been good to be able to go back to them for meetings.
We found the process of becoming foster carers really good. Our dedicated Social Worker would visit us around once a week and we’d explore our own backgrounds and look at the realities and challenges that children in care would face. She also gave us homework. This really prepared us well.
Fostering is rewarding because you are giving a child a chance at a new good beginning and even just a smile from them makes it all worthwhile.
As young people grow they will see and appreciate what you have done for them. We have ongoing training in our role to ensure we are the best carers we can be and can deal with any issues that may come up. In our home we have one to one talks with our foster children and group talks. We aim to create a homely environment and bring normality to the lives of children who may not have had that before.
As a child born in Jamaica I spent my first three years with my mum and dad, they then came to England and it was not until I was seven years old that I joined them.
This experience helped them to understand how a child may feel when they are not living with their family.
Valerie and I enjoy being foster carers and seeing young people making good progress. We are looking forward to our future with Waltham Forest.