Capstone Foster Care Blog

Dear Tara,

I’ve been thinking of all the things I wanted to thank you for and thought I’d write it down so you can read them when have a minute.

Tara, thank you for everything you have taught me during the past few years. I have learnt so much from you. As my first foster child, I didn’t know what to expect and if I’m honest I was a little daunted by the thought of the experience, you know, with me being on my own and all. Would I be able to give you everything you need?

Over the time I spent as your foster carer, you have taught me the true meaning of unconditional love. You had a bad start but that didn’t stop me from wanting to make your future better. We’ve had our ups and downs, and sometimes it’s been tough. I learnt to be patient, and so did you. When things were difficult or frustrating, we would always figure it out together. I’ll never forget the memories we made or the trust you showed to me during those first few weeks of meeting each other. It’s because of you I now know I can cope with more than I ever thought I could, for that I truly am grateful.

Thank you for teaching me to believe in my own abilities and for inspiring me to continue my foster caring journey and share all you’ve taught me with other children who need support too.


Before I became a foster carer, I worked as a Church Treasurer. I lived in a three-bedroom house with my wife and our two grown up children and when they moved out we were both left with each other and all this empty space around us.

The house became empty and quiet! It was an awful feeling! We used to have people around and they weren’t any more. It is like losing a part of our life and a big part of our daily job. The caring task was reduced for the need of 2 people only. And some daily routines in the house are just so difficult to amend because we have been doing it for years.

With a life time of experience gained as parents and as childcare worker, we thought we could give other children a chance to have a home and a family as well. That’s when we started to think about becoming foster carers and giving other children a chance to have a stable home.

The assessment is very thorough. They checked every aspect of our personal life just to make sure that the children would be in safe hands.

When we became foster carers, our daily routine changed, and we had to review our priorities and make the children our first priority.

I would say that the first rule in handling the stress, that can sometimes comes the way of a foster carer, is to try to keep quiet and calm when crisis strikes, secondly, be tolerant and thirdly, offer alternative solutions. Children seem to respond this.

Despite the challenges, being a foster carer is very interesting and a rewarding job. You look after children and have the chance to make a difference in their life. Seeing them developing and thriving brings a joyful feeling. And becoming a foster carer has meant that we are now a part of a new network of people, which has been a bonus.


Sharon and David Radford began fostering after having enjoyed parenting their own 2 children. Before they knew it their children had grown into mature young adults who no longer needed so much of their time, and so they began their foster care journey – an experience they both found enlightening.

Sharon explained:

‘I learnt so much about myself. For me parts of the process were very difficult, it was a form of counselling and I had to revisit some difficult periods from my life and deal with some issues.

David found the process to be fine however, on occasion felt it was slightly intrusive.

Chloe our daughter, who at the time was 17, loved it and sat in on most sessions and asked questions. She found it to be all very interesting. Luke who is shy and was 19 at the time only offered information when asked, I know he found it to be a long process.’

When Chloe left for university at the age of 18, Sharon had so many mixed emotions. She was proud of her but missed her company. Luke had only recently left home himself and she was also missing him.

Sharon said:

‘We missed the chaos, the noise, the laughter and the joy that we had experienced as parents. We still had so much more to give and felt that we had the skills and patience to offer a fresh start with a bright future to children and young people that had experienced a difficult start to their lives.’

Sharon and David waited months for their first placement. They were nervous but also excited as they had had the opportunity to meet the young person who was to become part of their family a few times before the placement date. They had undertaken a parenting course at a local college prior to the young person joining them and felt we were equipped and ready for the challenge ahead.

Sharon said about her first experience:

‘The main difference that we have experienced is that the young person we have with us has not been nurtured from birth like your own children.

They are very angry and deeply hurt, they build up barriers to protect their feelings. It takes time, patience and understanding to build up a relationship with trust, which can disappear in an instance. They rebel and test your loyalty, pushing your buttons to test you sometimes to the limit.

It can prove to be a long process but with time patience and persistence rewards are sure to come as they slowly learn to trust.

The key similarities to bringing up our birth children and nurturing looked after children is that they all thrive in a loving stable safe home with boundaries, a structured routine and consistency.’

David said:

‘We have been supported by all our Capstone supervising social workers and when faced with difficult times Capstone have always supported and guided us through the storms. They have also been there to share the good times and recognise the hard work we do. We are offered training and support, we feel valued and appreciated.’

 

 


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