Our experiences in fostering have stretched over ten years. We joined Swiis in 2019 and our journey started with an unexpected short-term placement of two young children; siblings aged four and six years. In an emergency move, local authorities had removed the children from their birth home. Before the arrival, Swiis advised that they would be staying with us for six weeks before they located to another foster home.
Being a family of Caribbean descent, we believed that they were finding a more ‘suitable’ match so the children would not feel too distanced from their own family as they are of white heritage.
Ethnic differences and having two birth children of our own, aged 12 and 13, proved to be the very least of our problems as they integrated within our family seamlessly, benefiting from growing up and developing knowledge of both Caribbean culture and a thorough understanding of racial equality.
On arrival, the two children appeared unkempt and traumatised and it transpired that they were academically years behind compared to the national average. We endeavoured to raise the children like our own; tutoring them on fundamental areas that they had missed out on in their formative years and guiding them into a stable life. There have been many challenging times, however we have always pulled through as a family and therefore delivering value to the experience of raising them.
Fostering can be tough, but it is a journey to be cherished; one which encourages a balance of love, belonging and values.
Ten years later and the oldest child has secured a place in college and is currently studying Public Services level three. We attribute this to the support we have given him throughout his life in education. We received help from the Swiis Behaviour Management and Educational Support teams, as well as MAPS child psychologists. All of which are readily available to assist with all our learning and development needs. The children have also completed their Duke of Edinburgh awards and the skills developed will be a valuable asset in their future career paths.
Having a positive influence in the lives of disadvantaged, vulnerable children and seeing them develop to their full potential has been extremely rewarding.
With the support of the Swiis team, my partner Rod and I are working to achieve the best outcomes for both children we foster to become valuable members of society in their adult years.