Sarah and Steve - Short term fostering
Sarah and her husband Steve began fostering about five years ago. During this time, they have looked after eight foster children alongside their own daughters, Kira and Megan, and their cat, Jackson. They became foster careers because they wanted to offer a safe and caring place to stay for children in need. The couple specialise in looking after babies and younger children under five for short term stays. Steve works in a school whilst Sarah is home based as the main foster carer, and as a family they enjoy holidays together as well as activities such as swimming and dancing.
Kira and Megan, aged 15 and 11, are fully engaged with the process too. “The girls have found it rewarding moving children on when they see how happy both the children and parents are. They find the goodbyes sad but understand that the child has a new future. They have enjoyed meeting up once a child has moved on to adoption but are upset when there has been no post adoption meetup. The girls have even created their own memory boxes to help them come to terms with letting go.”
Sarah and Steve have faced their fair share of challenges, such as taking a child to hospital after they had an accident, but they find the process rewarding too. Sarah enjoys “seeing the progress a child makes, knowing you have been part of their success, moving them on to adoption and seeing how happy the child and adoptive parents are.” Sarah considers the ideal carer to be a patient, kind and hardworking individual, who is also a good listener and advocate.
For every placement the couple consider a wide range of factors including gender, age, specific needs, dietary requirements, school location and transport, location of family, what the child will be coming with and plans for their future. “We always phone each other to discuss whether the placement is right for our family before accepting. There are lots of ups and downs and placements can go on longer than expected.
For anyone considering fostering Sarah offers the following advice “Make sure you are fit and healthy because it can be a very active role, and seek advice about what your own family and friends think about you becoming a foster carer.”