My name is Pauline, I'm nearly 73 yrs old, and have fostered for West Sussex for 47 years.
I was a childrens nurse and decided to foster when I got married. I was married in the September of 1965 and we received our first foster child three months later, a newborn, just in time for Christmas!
We have never looked back, fostering has enriched our lives. We have four children of our own, adopted one of our foster children too, and without exception, they enjoyed the experience too.
Of course there were good times and not so good times, but that's life. Overall, we have gained as much as I hope our children have and we are still in touch with some of them who are nearly fifty now!
My philosophy is to welcome the children, let them be themselves, watch them develop and have patience. Don't take the knocks personally, they may be aimed at you, but only because the children know it's safe to do so. You know the thing "I hate you", then a cuddle!
We find we can still offer a great deal to the right children (we don't do teenagers any more), we have fostered long, medium and short term, special needs, parent and baby, emergency placement, all have their rewards.
Fostering has filled my life, and I'm the better for it!