Monday, 24 March 2014

The National Fostering Agency: Part 1

Today I am presenting the first of three blog pieces written by the National Fostering Agency.....


A Few Things Foster Parents Would 
Like Other People To Know......

When you tell people you’re a foster parent you can usually expect a reaction. These reactions can vary greatly but almost everyone has something to say, a question to ask or an opinion they want to express. These can range from the knowledgeable and interested to the sometimes rather ignorant and offensive.

As a foster parent, you learn to expect some kind of reaction from people because the job you’re doing is different. It’s just that sometimes you really wish some people would think a few seconds longer before they open their mouths and say something silly.

It would actually be wonderful if more people were able to understand why it is we do it and try not make assumptions based on their own lives and value base. But by talking to us about our role people can really begin to see what it is like and why we want to do it. If you’re reading this and you’re not a foster parent, then here are some things that most foster parents like for you to know:

We’re not special....

Honestly we're not!  It gets a little frustrating being told that you’re a saint or an angel just for doing something you really enjoy. It’s simply not true and it can feel a little embarrassing although we do understand that mostly people mean this as a compliment. If the postman enjoys delivering letters in all weathers you don’t tell them that they are an angel, so why us? The majority of foster parents do it because they love having the kids around and get just as much back from the relationships with their foster children.

What concerns us is the more we link fostering with sainthood, the more it puts ordinary people off doing it. And that is a real shame because the truth is that we’re far from saints, we’re actually just like you.

Please don't assume the worst about Foster Children....

Many people assume that because the kids are being fostered that they are somehow troubled or flawed in a serious way. Of course they are not perfect but then in reality no-one is. We’re all people and we all have problems. Our aim is to help the children recover from their problems so they're not held back in life. It might surprise you that, despite some of the trauma in their lives, foster kids are some of the brightest, funniest and kindest people in the world.

Please don’t judge our children.....

People make a lot of judgements about the kids we foster and they're mostly inaccurate assumptions. Many people have no real idea what life is like for these kids or indeed their parents. Making judgements about people when you don't know them or their situation really doesn't help, and it especially doesn't help the kids.

Letting go is really hard.......

Part of the fostering role is that the children move on sometimes. They may move on to adoption or back to their birth family or another relative.  This is hard for us and it isn't something you get used to. It doesn’t ever get any easier over time and please don’t assume that we somehow become desensitised to it. When you say that you could never do it, it might surprise you to know that it can make us feel like we are somehow uncaring – and nothing could ever be further from the truth.

Fostering is actually a hard job .....

Some people have been known to make comments about fostering being ‘easier than having a real job’ or ‘getting paid to babysit’. These folks really don't know how wrong they are. Fostering can be challenging, emotionally draining and very, very tough. And many of us often do this while having other full time jobs to hold down too. It can be really hard to juggle all the different roles. It can be tempting to challenge the people who make such comments to a job swap for a few days!

This is small percentage of the things we wished other people knew about fostering and us as foster parents and there are also a lot of rewards in the job we do. It’s ok to ask us about being a foster parent but if we could ask just one thing.....please, don’t make up your mind before you do or make assumptions about what it must be like - you simply don’t know until you have tried.

Would you like to be a Foster Parent?

If Fostering is something you are interested in doing or you would like to talk to us further then come and check us out at: 

NFA Website at  or
Email: or
Phone: 0845 200 4040


Editors Note from Gem at Life with Katie: 
This post was written by the National Fostering Agency

No fee or recompense was received for sharing this post.


No comments:

Post a Comment