A family are considering fostering but are worried about how it could affect their family. Do you have any advice to share in this week’s A Problem Shared?
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My husband and I have been thinking a lot about fostering recently. We have a son and a daughter who are 14 and 16 and feel we have enough time, care and space to help some children that need it. We’ve talked hypothetically about it with our children and they seemed to like the idea. They said that they would be happy if we did this, but I worry that maybe the reality of the situation could be different.
I’m wondering if there is any way of finding out how other children of their age have coped with it. Did they became jealous or have other issues? How hard is it really… or not? We really are in the early days of thinking about this, and I think it would be good to be aware of some of the realities of what we may have to deal with before we go any further down this road and start to approach fostering organisations.
We’d be grateful for any advice.
Our FamilyPoint advice on how to come to terms with the realities of fostering.
Hi thanks for getting in touch with us here at FamilyPoint. Fostering is such a valuable and rewarding thing to do. It’s great that you are considering this but like you say it is a big decision to make not only for yourself and your husband but also for the whole family.
Exploring what this means
A new person entering the family will be a big change for your children and maybe a good place to start would be to sit down with them and explore exactly what this means. If you aren’t sure what this means for you a good starting point would be with your local authority and the local adoption and fostering team. They will be able to give you advice on what this means for you and your family practically. They may also be able to put you in touch with the local fostering network for you to gain an understanding of fostering on real terms.
Working together as a family
A majority of fostering services and the local authority will be able to provide you with a fostering information pack for you to look at as a family. Maybe this would be a good thing to explore at a family meeting. Something you will be encouraged to do as new foster carers is set down house rules for your new arrival. Maybe you could sit down and discuss this with your children, as they will also need to abide by these rules. Making these rules together might be a good way to help them invest in the situation.
Creating a family book
The Fostering Network Website suggests creating a ‘family book’. You can create this with your children so that they feel a part of the process of welcoming the new arrival. You don’t have to wait until you’ve started the process to do this. It may help your children by giving them a chance to explore the potential changes in your home.
Resources and forums
There are fact sheets available for children, teenagers or adults as well as extended families on the youcanfoster.org website. This could be useful for them to read after you’ve had your in depth family discussions. You could ask them to go away and read them and then put together some questions to ask afterwards. This could help them think about the real implications of the decision to foster.
Advice from a foster carer
Here at FamilyPoint Cymru we recently had a question and answer session with a foster carer in Wales. They shared their experiences of fostering and told us who this had an affect on in the family. They also talked us through the process and how they went about it as well as the support they received. We also got to hear what the difficulties have been as well as what the best thing has been about fostering. They also gave some advice to others who are thinking of fostering so it may be useful to you.
We wish you all the best in making this big decision and remember if you have anymore questions please don’t hesitate to contact the FamilyPoint helpline.
If you would like further information on national or local support services, then you can contact us at FamilyPoint Cymru via phone 0300 222 57 57, text 07860 052 905, or IM/Chat. We are open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm.
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