"The best thing about fostering is seeing the effects it can have on the lives of young people."

Vicky and Rachel's fostering story

Margaret Stemp

Caring Rachel has shown kind-heartedness runs in the family after being inspired to be a foster carer – by her mother’s ‘unique’ ability to enrich young people’s lives.

Rachel is following in the footsteps of mum, Vicky who has fostered 12 children and young people for Swiis Foster Care Midlands at their home in Solihull.

And the 34-year-old has a simple goal in mind – to have a positive impact on the lives of children and young people who need a loving home.

Rachel said: “Fostering wasn’t something I’d considered until I saw first-hand the incredible effect my amazing mum had on the children in her care and the huge difference she made to young lives.

“On a day-to-day basis, I could see the progress each child had made and how they can flourish given the right support and guidance.”

“And the biggest inspiration for me was when I got to witness the most beautiful moment of a young girl in our care being able to return back to her birth mother.

“That was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever witnessed and a huge push towards my decision to becoming a foster carer – a decision I doubt I’ll ever regret.”

Rachel lives together with her mum in Solihull and decided to become a foster carer also with Swiis Foster Care when Vicky retired earlier this year.

Rachel added: “I’ve worked with children all my life, so when my mum decided she wanted to retire, it seemed like the obvious choice for me to take over her role to make sure the children in our care receive the continuity they deserve.

“For my own fostering journey, I would like to achieve exactly what my mother has – raising children, giving them the loving and trusting environment they deserve and help them achieve their best in life.

“I want all children I care for to be able to look back at their time with me with fond memories and know that they can accomplish anything they aim for.”

“Becoming a foster carer has given me a whole new outlook to life and I hope they all feel loved, appreciated and safe because they deserve nothing less.”

Rachel will receive all the encouragement she needs for such an important role from Vicky, 63, who has fostered 12 children and young people during her eight years as a foster carer.

Vicky said: “I have stood behind my daughter Rachel, on her fostering journey, every step of the way.

“She needs very little guidance, as she has been working alongside me on my own journey and took to her role quite naturally.

“Fostering just seemed to fall into place naturally for me as well, when I was working with Rachel in our home childminding.

“As we had a spare bedroom, it made sense to us to offer that room to a child or young person who were in need of it, and it’s the best thing we could have done because it’s so rewarding on so many levels.”

Vicky has plenty of happy memories from her time as a foster carer and is looking forward to seeing Rachel enjoy plenty more.

“The best thing about fostering is seeing the effects it can have on the lives of young people.”

“Giving children the security and care, helping to nourish them emotionally, and seeing them achieve the very best that they can is just the most rewarding thing ever.

“It is so heart-warming when you have a child who is eventually returned to their birth families and you get a real sense of ‘a job well done’, it’s a wonderful feeling.”

Vicky is also hoping that more people across the Solihull area will enjoy the sense of achievement that accompanies fostering – even parents with children of their own.

Vicky added: “Fostering children can add another dimension to a house with children of your own.

“The children can learn so much from each other, and it can be a magical combination.

“It’s clearly not all going to be plain sailing, but with a lot of patience and understanding, most issues can be overcome. There is also fantastic support from the team at Swiis.

“My advice to anyone considering this journey, would be to see every child for the individual that they are, recognise every child that walks into your life has a story.

“Embrace them, care for them, and you will be rewarded in ways you never would have imagined.”

Their former foster child ‘Hailey’ (not her real name) – who lived under the same roof as Vicky and Rachel for 6 years – is full of praise for her former carers.

‘Hailey’ said: “Moving to Rachel and Vicky was the best thing that ever happened to me.

“They have been incredible in their care and support, shaping me into the person I am today.

“From the very beginning, they embraced me as part of their family, showering me with love, encouragement, and guidance.

“They have an incredible ability to create an atmosphere of safety and love that envelops my entire being”.

“From the moment I entered their lives, they took me under their wing, embracing me with open arms and genuine warmth.”

If Vicky and Rachel’s fostering story has inspired you, speak to someone in our team about becoming a foster carer. They will be happy to answer any questions you have – big or small!

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With thousands of children coming into foster care in the UK everyday, we urgently need foster carers more than ever.

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