Throughout Sons and Daughters Month this October we will be hearing from sons and daughters of foster carers as they share their experiences of growing up in a fostering household. In this blog Nicola tells us of the close bond she has built with her foster sister even though Nicola has long since moved out of her parents' home.
The fostering process started for my mum and dad when I was around 13 and we welcomed our first fostered child when I was 15, so in total, I have been part of a fostering family for 13 years. I lived at home until I was 18 and then went to Edinburgh for university. Before I became part of a fostering family I had no idea of how many children were in need of a foster home in the area I grew up in but I’m now able to welcome all the children that come through my parents’ door and make them feel part of our family.
I have always been involved in the children and young people who come to my mum and dad’s and the best aspect of being in a fostering family is seeing the change in the children over the time they have been with us. Their lives turn around and you can see how much happier they are. This is due to the time and effort my mum and dad put into each individual child. I am proud of my parents, and think they deserve a medal for how much patience, kindness and love they give towards fostered children.
For me I don't think there is a worst part of being part of a foster family. I would say sometimes it is worrying to see mum put a lot of pressure on herself to constantly make everyone happy all the time, but we all work together as a family; fostering has made us closer and made us support each other. My brother, sister and foster brother are all very excepting of our newest foster sister, Sally (name has been changed), and treat her as if she was their sister as well. When planning things on a daily basis we have to ensure that it fits in with everyone so nobody feels left out.
The first time Sally came to stay at my mum’s by herself for a long weekend, my fiancé and I were staying for the weekend as well. I can remember she came in the door and was so scared as it was a new place to stay and there were more new people for her to meet. I instantly felt a connection.
Soon after that stay Sally was placed with my mum and dad. Initially for the short term but recently this changed to a long term arrangement. This makes me so happy because all she wants is to be part of a family. Since this has happened you can see a change in her behaviour, although she can still be trying, and tries to push the boundaries, she is a lot more settled. This is due to how much time and effort my mum and dad have put in and also how everyone on both sides of the family has reacted towards Sally and made her feel welcome.
I speak to Sally regularly, or should I say, when she can fit me into her busy schedule. We talk about lots of different things going on in her life and whenever we video call you don't know if you are going to get singing, dancing or a worried little face appear on the screen.
When my fiancé and I got engaged in Feb 2015 we hadn't even met Sally - she came to stay with my mum full time in June 2015. We had only just started to make the plans for the wedding, going back and forward to my parents’ house, so we had seen a lot of Sally. We all went to the venue together to view it and she was asking lots of questions about weddings and whether or not she was invited. One evening I said to my fiancé I would like to ask her to be flower girl to make her feel part of the day. When we asked her she said yes but she didn't really know what it meant as she has never been to a wedding before; but she was so happy because she knew she was going to get a pretty dress to wear.
At Christmas I bought her a sticker book called Weddings, to help her follow what would happen on the day and in the planning of the wedding. It went through the process of picking the dress right up to the day of the wedding.
We got married in September and when my mum asked Sally what the best bit about the wedding was she said it was the dancing and getting to put her swirly dress on. Sally loves attention and performing, I wouldn't be surprised when she is older if she appears on a stage somewhere.