The journey to becoming foster carers – What is life as a fostering family really like?
Welcome back to our Journey to Becoming Foster Carers blog series. In this three-part series, we are interviewing our newest foster carers – Sarah and Ross. In the first interview, Sarah and Ross shared their experience of the application and assessment process, you can read that post here. If you want to know a little more about what life as a fostering family is really like, this second interview is a must read.
Life as a fostering family can have its challenges, just like all family dynamics do. Fostering can be hard work and can be demanding at times, but looking after children is also immensely rewarding. Do you want a closer look behind the scenes of life as a fostering family? If so, keep on reading, Sarah and Ross have provided a candid look at life as a fostering family.
What is life as a fostering family really like?
Finding a New Routine
We asked Sarah and Ross about their home and working life and how this has changed since they joined our team of foster carers in November 2022.
Ross: I have been working for the local funeral directors for about eight years. Then I went down to two days. But since we started fostering in early December, I resigned from the position. They’ve kept me on the books though, so I go and help on occasion if they’re busy.
Cutting my hours has freed up a lot of time. As a foster carer, there are so many appointments, school runs, meetings – you need to be ultra flexible.
I also do a couple of gardening jobs as well. Our time off is between nine and three. Monday to Friday when the kids are at school, that’s our weekend! That’s when I go off and do bits and clean the house and do all the laundry.
Sarah: I work at a school on Wednesday and Fridays as a teaching assistant. We also look after my friend’s little boy once a week too.
Ross: By working less I have been able to be more dedicated to being a foster carer. For example, the children had just started attending a new school when they came to live with us. We needed to support this arrangement until a new school was identified which meant we were doing a lot of miles each day on the school run and it was a long day for the children and for us. The local authority did contribute towards travel expenses. The children have now gotten a place in the school in the next village, which is only five minutes down the road. It is so much better and they’re settling in well.
Ross: you are rewarded quite well financially for being a foster carer.
Sarah: This gives you the ability to give up work if you need to and give the children the time they need.
Ross: I would find it impossible to keep working full time. There are so many meetings that take place. We had a meeting yesterday, which was quite a big meeting to discuss what’s happening with the children in the future. That went on for probably an hour or so and took place during the normal working day.
Balancing Family Life
As well as fostering boy and girl siblings, Sarah and Ross also have their own birth children. We asked them what life has been like adjusting to being foster carers, alongside being parents.
Sarah: As well as the children we look after, we also have a son (13) and daughter (10).
Ross: We have good days and bad days sometimes. They all get on well and it’s a pleasure. Other days it gets a little bit competitive. If one child thinks that someone has had five more minutes attention than somebody else, for example. There’s a lot of managing our time, to make sure that we give all four of them equal amounts of attention, so that no one feels like they’re being left out.
Sarah: I think it’s the same as any sibling group of four. It’d be really tricky. The children have got the extra dynamics of us being birth parents, as well as them being our foster children. That can put an extra element of competition between them.
I am really enjoying having them live with us. When it was just our birth children, they had got into that habit of just sitting on their devices or just going into their room. Since the children have been here, our birth son and daughter have become a lot more family orientated. They play with the children, and they are a lot more engaged in family life. I think it’s been really positive for them all.
If Sarah and Ross have inspired you to begin your fostering journey, please get in touch with our team by emailing email@example.com . The final instalment in this interview series is all about advice for new foster carers, so be sure to return to the blog soon to learn Ross and Sarah’s top tips.
To find out more about fostering and how to become a foster carer with our independent fostering agency, please read the following pages on our website:
Types of foster care.
Who can foster?
How to become a foster carer with Focus Foster Care.
Fostering – frequently asked questions.
The benefits of fostering with Focus Foster Care.