Catching up with our young champions - part three

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In the final instalment of our young champions blog, we hear from Amy and Lauren. In case you missed them, here are parts one and two.

Amy

A foster carer is seen as someone who looks after a child and that is all. But that is not the case. Throughout my years in care, I have been in one placement where I still reside 11 years later. The dedication and support I have received from my foster carers is excellent. They have treated me as any parent treats their own children.

I have received fantastic care and have had their full support throughout my further education and career. I’ve not been the only one that has received this outstanding level of care as my foster carers look after my brother and other children also.

Overall my experience has been positive and fulfilling and I can always rely on my foster carers to assist me in anyway, as any parent should do. Developing and growing my personality throughout the years with their help has really allowed me to become the person I am.

Fostering is very rewarding, but also hard work. Knowing that you are making a difference to a vulnerable young person’s life is something that cannot be put into words. Being proud of someone who pushes themselves and achieves things that they may never have thought they could, would show any person who is thinking about doing so to take the step in the direction of fostering. 

It is one of the most rewarding things to do and knowing you are making a difference to someone’s life is a great feeling. Without the help and dedication of my foster carers I wouldn’t be where I am today.

Lauren

In 2009 my mum made the decision to foster young adults between the ages of 12 and 18. This became somewhat of a controversial topic with some our family and friends due to the misconception that teenagers are more challenging and potentially dangerous.

They were especially worried for my younger sister and I, since we were only around 15 and 13 years old ourselves. My mum, however, ignored their misplaced fears because she realised teenagers were often overlooked. Everyone wants to foster or adopt a cute baby or young child but not many people think about teenagers.

My mum wanted to give young adults a chance to change their lives by giving them the skills and emotional support for them to make their own success. She taught them simple household skills such as cleaning, cooking and generally looking after themselves.

My mum helped them believe in themselves so that they could finish school and go onto further education or get their first job. She treated her foster kids no differently from me or my sister. We grew up together and went through the same struggles every teenager goes through. They were like siblings or good friends to me.

We never judged them because of their background. They may have had heavier baggage, behavioural difficulties, or emotional instabilities but our family worked together to help them through it all. I'm proud of my mum for helping these teenagers flourish into young adults who now have a chance for a better future they may never have had.

I have learnt so much through my experience as a daughter of a foster parent. I've been witness to the stigma surrounding those in care. I've listened to their stories, supported them through heartbreaking times and now I want to do more for other young people in care.

I also want to educate people and show them that just because someone is in care doesn't mean that they are any different from any other child.

Thankfully those families and friends who had fears and doubts, in the beginning, have had their eyes and minds opened. Whatever expectations they had were completely washed away once they actually got to know the kids in my mum's care.