A big thank you to the sons and daughters of our foster carers
20 October 2017
Going to live with a new family can be a daunting experience for any foster child: adjusting to new surroundings, new people, a new way of life and many other things.
But a new arrival can be equally challenging for the birth children of any foster family, as they are now having to share their homes, their parents' attention and more.
We know that birth children rise to the occasion, though, and despite being a period of great change they warmly and generously welcome children into their homes and help them to settle in.
That’s why every year we says a huge thank you to our foster carers' birth children, sending them a thank you card and a gift voucher in recognition of what they do.
It links in with national Sons and Daughters Month – which is run by the Fostering Network every October to celebrate the work of the birth children of foster families.
This year we are sending out around 90 cards. One of them will be going to Ryan Savic. He won the Special Sons and Daughters Award at last month’s Central Bedfordshire Celebration of Fostering ceremony for the way he has helped welcome a foster child into his home.
University student Ryan, 22, of Leighton Buzzard, explains more about his experience:
"I have now been a part of fostering for three years after my Mum started caring for her first foster child in October 2014. At the beginning, I wasn’t highly involved directly as I had just started university in Birmingham so was not living at home and would only come home during holidays such as Christmas and Easter.
"For the past year, however, I have been living at home whilst taking part in my placement year as part of my university degree. Although I was active in helping my Mum out whenever I could, being at university, I was rarely in the area so living at home whilst looking after a foster child was a new experience to me.
"This was very different to anything I have experienced before as I am the youngest of two brothers and the only experience I have looking after young children are my cousins that come around often also.
"There was a lot I realised I had to learn when living back at home as the new dynamic in the house was very different. This was the closest I have felt to being an older sibling therefore I had a strong sense of responsibility. I would be conscious of this when listening to certain music or playing certain video games around her, as I understood certain things are not appropriate for younger children. Therefore, I would say that fostering has overall made me a more responsible person and has made me take into consideration, other people around me, especially children.
"I have always enjoyed being around children, such as my younger cousins, and always wanted a younger sibling so it is nice to have a foster child in the family. Although it is challenging at times, my Mum has been supportive and has made sure I have somewhere in the house where I can go and have some personal time or where I can study towards my degree in peace if needed etc. This has enabled me to focus on myself and enabled me to take a break if needed. However, I feel as if the rewarding side definitely overrides the challenging times and I feel a sense of pride when telling people that, as a family, we foster.
"Fostering is definitely something I would recommend to other families as I feel it is a phenomenal way to help others and I do enjoy being a part of it. The concept may feel daunting, especially to children of potential foster carers.
"As a 19-year-old and the youngest of my Mum’s sons, I was worried when my mum first told me that she was interested in fostering as I was unsure to how a young child would fit into our family when we were all now adults. As I have said, I was pleasantly surprised and have enjoyed the experience greatly. Most of my fondest memories in the last few years involve fostering, therefore I think it was a great choice that my Mum made and perfect for our family."
Sue Harrison, our Director of Children’s Services, said: “Sons and daughters of foster carers are incredibly valuable members of any fostering home, and I would like to say thank you to all of them for sharing their homes, their parents’ time and for being an amazing support to fostering.
"It makes a huge difference to foster children when birth children help them feel welcome in their family and include them in their life to help them feel that they belong."
If that’s inspired you to find out more about fostering, please call our fostering team on 0300 300 8181 or email firstname.lastname@example.org