Fostering has changed my life. My parents started fostering when I was 16. Im now 23. Retrospectively, at the start, it was hard. I was amidst my GCSEs and at first, it was a big adjustment. I'm sure our family would all agree that fostering was right for us, but perhaps the time in my GCSEs wasn't the right time to start. But I had a really good relationship with my parents and it made it easier. Saying that, my relationship with my parents has only got stronger over the past seven years.
I grew up as an only child so fostering has given me the chance to be a role model for younger children. It's allowed me to become someone that kids look up to, and in turn, that has inspired me to be a better person. Being an only child, it's taught me to share! It can be nice to have someone around to take to the park, to walk the dog with, to have a game of mario kart, and to occasionally share the blame!
Fostering is a rewarding experience, it's interesting and you're constantly learning. The relationships that you have the chance to form with interesting people from varying backgrounds is incredible. I've learnt a lot about children, fostering and myself. I wasn't sure at the start, and I'm sure that feeling is normal for all children who's families foster. But, if you give it a chance, you'll not look back. Fostering for me has been a positive experience. Like anything in life, it has its highs and it has its lows. You have to go in with an open mind, and an equally open heart.
I live away from home now. Seven years on and I can't imagine visiting home and not being greeted by different faces and the warmth and a love a child in care has to offer.
Leah's blog was written as part of our Sons and Daughters Month blogging competition. Find out more about Sons and Daughters Month.