Graham and Mary

SOUTHERN TRUST

“If we don’t love them, then who is going to?” This was the question posed to Graham and I by our eight year old daughter at the dinner table two years ago.  She had been watching a children’s programme featuring a group of children who lived in a Children’s Home and wanted to know why we couldn’t foster children in a similar situation.  Our son who was eleven pointed out that we had a spare bedroom and so we were fully equipped!

Graham and I had been married for thirteen years and after having my first child I was told that swollen and worn discs in my back would prevent me from having further children.  We did not want our son to be a ‘lone ranger,’ so we considered adoption.

Unfortunately I was also born with clubbed feet and although I could walk, the pain in one foot became unbearable, so I opted for an elective amputation and in doing so had to put the adoption process on hold.  Just before my amputation was scheduled my back was examined again and the consultant advised that one more pregnancy would not cause further damage.  I had a daughter and then the amputation six months later.  

Life was busy with two small children and my disability. I taught part time and Graham is self employed as a farmer; we had enough in our family life.  

“But who is going to love them, if we don’t?”  On the inside cover of my teaching pay slip the question asking employees to consider fostering was written in bold print and my mind was cast back to the adoption preparation course.  Graham and I talked lamented, questioned, worked out the practicalities and the effects on our children over two years.  I taught children in foster care and asked myself who else could respond to our love and care if we fostered them.  

By this time Graham was approaching his 50th birthday so we needed to decide, we felt drawn to the younger age group.  Then the conversation at the dinner table took place. With the whole family committed to the venture we approached Social Services.

Since then we have had constant support and help from all the Trust employees and have been very impressed about how they care for our family as much as the children we foster.

They have equipped us through courses and written material to know how to deal with new emotions and situations.  

The foster children have been amazing! They have responded positively to the physical care, time and laughter as we navigate life all the time building their sense of safety, value and worth.  Some things take patience and a different approach but with the correct support and advice we are all learning together.  

Our children have gained valuable life skills such as sharing, patience, forgiveness and compassion.  Graham and I have a terrific circle of professionals and fellow foster carers that we can call friends.

“If you don’t love them, who is going to?” Children need loving homes, time and practical care so join the team and be one of the people who just does it!

To find out more about becoming a valued HSC foster carer, call Regional Adoption and Fostering Service on 0800 0720 137 who will put you in touch with your local HSC Trust. Alternatively you can enquire online.