I have always wanted to become a foster carer. I come from a very large family and have always been there to help my younger family members through any hard times in their lives. I knew I wanted to help children as every child deserves a happy childhood. At 32 I decided it was time to start investigating and that is when I was introduced to Aberlour.
The Aberlour team were so warm and friendly. When we first met I was a little anxious as I am young, single and don’t have any experience looking after children on my own. However, that didn’t matter. Unlike other agencies, the Aberlour team had no pre-conceived notions of whether I could be a foster carer or not due to my age and lack of experience. They listened to me and knew that I was able to provide a loving and stable home for a child who needed it.
The approval process to become a foster carer took around 8 months. It was very intense. You have to be very open about your life, and being open to people you don’t know is difficult. The team at Aberlour was really helpful and made the process easier. Everyone is so friendly and nice, especially my contact Kerryanne, making it really easy to open up and talk. I have built a wonderful relationship with Kerryanne and I know the Aberlour team is always there 24/7 no matter when I need them.
I was so excited when I was approved to become a foster carer. But little did I know that I would get my first match at the beginning of a global pandemic. Before lockdown was announced I began the matching process for a 9-year-old boy called Paul. He had spent most of his life in care. Paul’s parents were unable to meet his needs or able to provide him with a warm and stable home. Paul had experienced a number of placement breakdowns due to the fact that he hadn’t properly bonded with his foster carers. I had met with Kerryanne, Paul’s social worker and his current carer as it was vital to make sure I was the right carer for Paul.
Lockdown was announced and I was in tears thinking I was going to be on my own. Little did I know that I would be getting the most important call, telling me Paul was coming to live with me. A few days after Britain was placed in complete lockdown he had moved in.
Yes, it was daunting as it was a rather unique situation. No one had ever been in this situation before. But it gave Paul and I time to bond. We got to make our own memories together and got to know each other without family, schools or anyone else getting in the way. We both love arts and crafts so every week we would decorate our front window with a different theme. We would play board games, watch films and even bake! Paul loves baking, it’s not something I am good at and most of our bakes ended up in the bin but we had fun while doing it. We would go for lots of walks and I was able to help Paul learn all about his new neighbourhood. We were able to become our own little family unit very quickly, which might have taken longer in a non-pandemic world.
Aberlour was always there to help. Kerryanne might not have been able to come around to the house like she usually would but we would meet twice a week online to chat and discuss any of my concerns. The team are available 24/7 so I knew if I ever needed them they were there and Kerryanne’s check in messages were and are always appreciated. While Paul and I were in the house together, we knew we weren’t alone.
I am so proud that we survived and celebrated our first year together in March. I am looking forward to the future and helping Paul settle in at school and make friends, going on holiday, meeting my family and making more memories. I want Paul to know he is loved and to enjoy his childhood.
If anyone reading this is thinking about becoming a foster carer, please do it. Don’t let your age, relationship status or lack of experience get in the way. If you have a home and love to give then go ahead. Being a foster carer is one of the hardest things I have ever done but it is the most rewarding. A smile on Paul’s face is worth everything.
Could you change a life? Find out more about becoming an Aberlour foster carer.
*Names changed and stock image used to protect anonymity.