Fostering with your own young children can be an additional challenge, not just due to managing several sets of school runs or clashing bath and bedtimes, but all the other factors of running a fostering household such as being available for social worker meetings, family contact etc, that invariably clash with someone’s nap time!
This has not deterred our foster carers, Katie & James, who now have been fostering for over 2 years and have a very busy household! Here is their fostering experience in their own words.
“We’d always known we’d foster one day. We were married by ages 20 & 22 years and had our third and final baby at ages 22 & 24 years.
Fostering was on the cards from our teenage years, and we were approved as foster carers aged 24 & 26 years. Our own birth children were aged 7, 4 and 2 years, and although I had concerns, or at times worried, about how I’d juggle additional children with differing needs, I knew we’d make it work however difficult it could be.
In our 2.5 years fostering, we’re proud to have cared for a teenager, who is now with us long term, along with a mother and baby who are also long term, plus an additional mum and baby who are settled in their own place now.
Being young parents, ourselves has meant we firmly believe that young parents should be given a chance to grow into successful parents, and that age doesn’t define your ability to be a parent. Having younger children has meant that my recent experience and knowledge has been used daily whilst caring for mums and babies, and I hope that our birth children will grow with compassion and understanding for others, that hopefully will be taken with them on the journey for the rest of their lives.
The age gaps of the children we have cared for have been invaluable in making sure everybody’s needs have been met, as the level of care each individual child needs has been entirely different.
A recent highlight has been seeing a mum I had previously looked after, move from her semi-independent placement to her own tenancy in the community, as well as my 2 teenagers (+ toddler) being officially made long term and we have certificates for this which has been nice for our family.”
Fostering with your own younger children is not for the faint-hearted, however can work very well with a family that can be very flexible with other commitments to work around fostering.
You would need to have has a strong support network locally, to be called on when required when you can’t be in two places at once. You would also need to be able to drive and have a large car such as a people carrier (or minibus)!
If you would like to find out more about fostering or to see if the timing is right for all the family, please get in touch 😊