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Kay & Rick’s story

Kay & Rick have been fostering with Jay for over 5 years and we were delighted to present them with our Carer of the Month award for April before they went off on holiday. We asked Kay to share the couple’s story about becoming foster carers:

“What made you and Rick decide to become foster carers?”

“From a child, I had always had the opinion that there were so many children in the world that needed people to open their homes and hearts to them; making them realise that they could fulfil their dreams and were worth loving.”

“How long did you think about fostering before you applied?”

“We initially looked at fostering when our daughter was 14 years old – that was back in 2003. At that time, our daughter did not feel she would be ready to accept another child into the home. As a family we had always agreed that we would relook at fostering when the time was right. We started back on the journey 10 years later in 2013.”

“Did you have any reservations about fostering before you applied?”

“I don’t think we did as much as our family and friends did, as they all had heard horror stories of what the experience would be like for us. We attended the Skills to Foster training and got an insight as to what the world of fostering could look like. It was frank and a no-frills perspective and it gave us plenty of food for thought, but knew we could make a difference.”

“What did you do before you fostered?”

“Prior to fostering both of us had spent our whole working careers within Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service. Rick was a Station Manager at Hastings Road Fire Station and I headed the Emergency Fire Control. We both loved our jobs but with Rick retiring we decided it was the right time for us to embark on a new adventure. Our daughter was still at home and now worked as a nurse in the accident and emergency department.”

“What skills do you feel that you bring to the role of a foster carer?”

“We both had huge amounts of life skills; we had come from a structured environment, with crisis management on a daily basis and had a wealth of compassion for others. We respected different cultures and the differing values of others and had learnt to be non-judgemental. As people we both have a lot of patience, caring and understanding and a whole lot of love to give even on the toughest of days.”

“What is the most enjoyable thing about fostering?”

“I suppose it is always the little things; the look when our girls need that encouragement and reassurance. The school concerts when they beam with smiles and stand on stage waving wildly to us. Hearing the giggles as Rick performs his shadow kick boxing when they are worried about the dark. Listening to their rubbish jokes and pretending they are hilarious. How we have earned the trust and love of our two little girls that have had a troubled start in life. When they thank us for loving them and seeing them start to believe they are worth loving. Having just gone on holiday and for the first time in 5 and a half years have our daughters show no anxiety, enjoy every moment they spent with us and having fun simply priceless and gave us that realisation of how far we have come.”

“What has been the most difficult part of fostering?”

“For us we have had so many difficulties and frustrations. We have had to fight every step of the way to ensure our girls get the best of everything and the voice of the child is heard. In Skills to Foster training, some of the challenges that we could expect from placements were explained, with the idea that you would only experience one these during a placement, but we have had the full spectrum in abundance. There have been days when we felt we couldn’t go on; we have questioned how two children can make us feel like our lives are spent on a rollercoaster and we been sick of the sound of our own voices repeating ourselves over and over again. For us, the biggest realisation is that we cannot fix everything, but we will try our hardest to keep our girls safe, happy and growing into independence with positive perspective of life.”

“What support do you receive from Jay?”

“We have to give a huge shout out to Paula, our Supervising Social Worker. She has been our rock, our shouting post, our friend and a fantastic professional. When times have got tough, she has taken control, took responsibility away from us and dealt directly with other agencies. Her main priority has always been us as the carers, making sure we are OK. I sometimes feel, that without her help, the placement may have broken down.

I recently undertook the Carers Academy training which was excellent. It gave so many insights into our children’s lives and Mandy our trainer could impart her own experience of being in care which made the input come to life. Rick has now got his name down for the same course.

We must also say a big thank you to all team members of Jay Fostering. As a team of people, you are compassionate and caring individuals that deal with difficult situations on a daily basis with professionalism and a smile.”

“Would you recommend becoming a foster carer to anyone else?”

“This is a difficult question as our journey has sometimes been a hard one. We would never discourage people from fostering but we would have to be honest about the challenges you can face as well as the good things about fostering.

“Thank you for the recognition of our professional conduct – it means a lot.”

And thank you Kay & Rick. Giving you Carer of the Month is the least we can do. Your commitment and passion towards the to the girls in your care is admirable – Jay Fostering.