What is it really like to foster? Affinity Ambassador Steve shares his thoughts.

Published 21 Feb 2024

Steve has been fostering for 3 years and is one of Affinity’s ambassadors, helping to encourage people who are thinking of fostering. He has written this blog which gives a profound insight into fostering, its rewards and its challenges.

On being a foster carer.

By Steve Towers.

Being a foster carer is a deeply rewarding yet challenging experience that often involves a rollercoaster of emotions. At its core, it's about providing a safe and nurturing environment for children who are in need of temporary care due to various circumstances in their lives. Here's a glimpse into what it feels like to be a foster carer:

  1. Fulfilment: One of the most profound feelings as a foster carer is the sense of fulfilment that comes from knowing you're making a positive difference in a child's life. Providing a stable and loving home environment can have a lasting impact on a child's development and well-being.
  2. Empathy and Compassion: Foster carers often develop a heightened sense of empathy and compassion as they witness firsthand the challenges and traumas that many children in foster care have endured. This empathy fuels their dedication to providing unconditional love and support to the children in their care.
  3. Vulnerability: Opening your home and heart to a child in foster care also means opening yourself up to vulnerability. Foster carers often form deep emotional bonds with the children they care for, knowing that they may eventually have to say goodbye when reunification with birth family or placement with a permanent family occurs.
  4. Uncertainty: The foster care journey is marked by uncertainty. Foster carers may not always know how long a child will be in their care or what the future holds for the child. This uncertainty can bring about feelings of anxiety and apprehension, but it also teaches foster carers the importance of living in the present moment and cherishing the time they have with the children.
  5. Advocacy and Empowerment: Foster carers often find themselves in the role of advocates for the children in their care, ensuring that their needs are met, and their voices are heard within the child welfare system. This advocacy work can be both empowering and frustrating as foster carers navigate complex bureaucratic processes and strive to create positive change for the children they serve.
  6. Resilience: Being a foster carer requires a great deal of resilience. It means being able to weather the ups and downs of the foster care journey, celebrating the small victories, and finding strength in the face of adversity. It also means recognizing the importance of self-care and seeking support from fellow foster carers, support groups, and professionals when needed.
  7. Love and Loss: Perhaps the most profound aspect of being a foster carer is experiencing the depth of love and the pain of loss. Foster carers pour their hearts into caring for the children in their homes, forming strong attachments and bonds along the way. Saying goodbye to a foster child, whether they are reunified with their birth family or placed in a permanent home, can be heart-wrenching, but it's a testament to the love and dedication foster carers have for the children in their care.

In essence, being a foster carer is a journey filled with a myriad of emotions – from joy and fulfilment to heartache and uncertainty. Yet, through it all, foster carers remain steadfast in their commitment to providing love, stability, and hope to the children who need it most.

If you’d like to speak to Steve or one of our other friend2foster ambassadors about fostering, please get in touch with us at info@affinityfostering.com or call us on 01245 237 158.

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