K and G are brother and sister in a foster family whose parents have been fostering for nearly ten years. We asked them to tell us about their experiences and thoughts about being a foster family.
Our names are K and G. We live with our mum, dad, big brother, foster sister and brother who are fourteen and twelve years old. We’ve been part of a foster family since we were six and are now fifteen years old. When we first started fostering, it was a bit weird because we had new people in our house who we didn’t know and we weren’t used to that. After a while we got used to it and often ask our parents when the next child is coming along when other children leave. We are now not used to having just the three of us at home anymore - we find it really boring!
The good thing about fostering is that:
- You often get to meet new people
- It helps you with your social skills
- We learn a lot from other children
- You make new friends. We have learnt that family doesn’t have to mean your birth family only. It’s who else you want to include in your life
- It provides a good level of tolerance – you accept everyone. You become very supportive towards your friends.
- It makes you realise how fortunate you are
- When the other child settles and you become good friends
- There is always something going on… you get to laugh a lot
- We have had a positive childhood. It makes you focus on what is important. It makes you feel lucky to have your family (shhh don’t tell them we said that)
- It makes you realise no one is really bad… it’s their experiences that makes them what they are. Once they settle you see a different person and you can help but love them too
- Our friends think we are lucky and sometimes they are curious about how we manage to share
What we find hard about fostering is:
- When the children leave and have to re adjust again... especially when you don’t get a proper goodbye
- It can feel like a lot of pressure, especially when the other child has had a bad time and you feel bad for them but want to make them feel better but don’t always know how. Also you have to try to be good so they do not copy your bad habits... which can be hard
- You don’t understand everything that goes on, especially when they have kicked off for no apparent reason. You learn not to take things personally as you do not understand everything. Mum and Dad always explain it’s not about us, it’s about what has happened to them before and we just have to help them get through it
- Sometimes you can’t do what you want to do. We guess that’s part of life really
- You have to watch what you say so that you don’t hurt other people’s feeling but the foster child do not always have the same empathy for you, especially towards your mum and dad
Sharing our parents is:
Alright… it’s not a big deal. There is more than enough love for everyone. When we were younger the older foster children ones were usually kind to us and played with us when we asked, now we are older we do the same. We get to go to bed a bit later so we spend time with our parents then.
Would we do it again?????? Absolutely… it can be hard but the rewards outweigh the bad bits.