Foster carers’ children are a vital part of many fostering families. We spoke to the winners of our 2017 Outstanding Contribution by Sons and Daughters Award to find out why they love being a part of their fostering family and what it was like winning a national award.
Rebekah has been part of a fostering family for more than 20 years. She is an advocate for the young people in her parents’ care, offering a listening ear at any time of the day or night. She was also an instrumental part of one of the first ‘Children who Foster’ groups.
Rebekah remained committed to foster care even through university and included her foster siblings in one of her course projects.
Rebekah’s mother, Janet, nominated her for the award, describing her as loving, generous and kind.
‘I was honoured to win the award,’ Rebekah says. ‘It was a surprise from my mother and really showed me how much she appreciates all I have done to help out in the years that she and my father have fostered.
‘Fostering is a challenge in itself, and I would say one of my biggest challenges while growing up, was having to “share” my parents. Most of the time I was okay with it, but there were moments when I was younger, when I just struggled to accept that my parents weren't only my parents, and it was tough sometimes.
‘Being part of a fostering family is also an honour - I can't say enough positive things about it! To know that your parents are changing another person’s life is such a lovely feeling.
‘It has made me the positive and non-judgemental person I am today. I have been able to meet so many children from so many backgrounds throughout my life, an opportunity not many people have and one I wouldn't change for anything!
‘I have gained so much invaluable experience through being brought up as part of a fostering family, and I feel I have a greater understanding of the world through this experience, as well as a very positive outlook on life.
‘There’s lots of advice I could give to other sons and daughters. I would say that when times are tough, always remember your parents will be there to support you. But also try to remember that the other children your parents are caring for aren't able to live with their parents.
‘Try to put yourself in their shoes for just a moment and imagine not living with your parents. Do your best to understand and support the foster children you live with, as you and your parents are their current family.’
Nine-year-old Troy was our youngest winner at this year’s Fostering Excellence Awards.
Troy was adopted by Susan and George who are also foster carers, meaning he has to share his parents’ time and attention more than most. He takes this in his stride, never showing any jealousy or resentment.
On the contrary, Troy welcomes children into the home with open arms, even leaving one of his own teddies on the bed when a new child arrives. Recently he was found helping one of these children as they prepared for adoption, comforting her while looking through her new ‘family book’.
Troy was nominated for the award by his parents’ supervising social worker, Kay Cooper, who says Troy is a credit to his parents: ‘He is the most kind, thoughtful and caring nine year old I have ever had the pleasure to work with.’
Troy said: ’I am very happy with my award. I am happy to be kind and helpful to any children in our family and I love being a big brother to them.’
Caitlyn, who is 14 years old, hasn’t had the easiest of times in recent years, yet has shown great maturity in supporting her mother with fostering, as well as excelling in her own life.
Caitlyn has been influential in the decision for her mum to now adopt one of the children living with them and, alongside her commitment to foster care, Caitlyn is also a champion swimmer who is on track for the Commonwealth and Olympic games.
Supervising social worker, Naomi Marjoribanks, said: ‘Caitlyn helps us to improve our service and supports young people through their journey. She shows a great deal of empathy towards others, and despite dealing with a number of challenges in her own life, she always supports fostering.’