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Maxine & Martin’s story

Maxine & Martin have been fostering for 15 years and they are the latest Jay carers to be awarded our Carer of the Month. When we visited their home to present their award, we talked to Maxine about how the couple had come to foster.

“Martin & I had been thinking about fostering since we married, two years earlier. It was something we were interested in as we had always wanted to have children in our lives and had not yet had our own.”

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

“Yes, more apprehension than reservations and then there was excitement too. I recall the nervousness of our very first open evening and the information overload, that took a while to digest. We applied to our Local Authority to start with and went through, what was then, a lengthy process, although it is much quicker these days.

And then, surprise! I became pregnant with our first child – we were shocked but so happy!”

“Maxine, what did you do before you fostered?”

“Ha ha – here goes! You’ll wish you never asked!

I’ve had a variety of jobs throughout my life ranging from full time overlocker, to shoe maker, a fresh meat packer at the cattle market and a chambermaid abroad. I’ve also waitressed in restaurants and worked in food factories. I was even a part time model – this raised some eyebrows!

We moved to our new house in a small village and I changed my job, as the travelling was too far, and gained employment at a label manufacturing unit, I then worked in an office as an admin assistant.

I left this job on maternity leave and after giving birth became a Community Carer (young and old service users) and trained as a classroom assistant.”

“And Martin?”

“Martin trained as an electrician, worked in a food factory (this is where we met) progressed onto an Electrical Engineering Manager which he is still is today, as well as well as my support as a foster carer. Definitely a team effort.”

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

“Our job roles in the past reflect organisational skills, good time keeping, listening and being of a kind and caring nature. Following the company’s rules and policies. Being peace maker, being hands on when it comes to tasks and good all round “people person” with children and adults alike.

I also didn’t feel my upbringing as a child was one of the best. We both wanted better for any children around me in the future.”

“What is the most enjoyable thing about fostering?”

“Making a difference to a child/young person’s life. Giving them a chance to fulfil their true potential that we could see was lacking previously.”

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

“Dealing with really unruly behaviour at times and watching my own children’s reactions to that type of behaviour; things like swearing, real defiance, absconding, being destructive to themselves, others and property too at times.”

“What support do you receive from Jay?”

“If there is a problem, Jay Fostering has always been there for us as a family, as well as the child in placement.

Our meetings with our Supervising Social Worker are friendly and informal, mostly times that suit our circumstances and the child is seen in placement too.

Training is invaluable and although considered necessary, it’s also very enjoyable. I also like social side of training, where foster carers come together and share their experiences without being judged.”  

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

“Yes, as with us it works with our family lifestyle. Time is precious these days and fostering incorporates being together and traditional family values.

We have three teenagers in our house at present, one of which is a foster placement, and they are all in full-time education. Fostering gives us the flexibility to complete reports for the agency, attend meetings with the Local Authority and school too. I can also socialise with other foster carers, friends and family within school hours. We are then able to give our teenagers our full attention out of school hours, doing activities, helping with homework, attending health appointments, visiting friends and enjoying life in general.”     

Thank for sharing your fostering journey with us Maxine & Martin. You are passionate and committed foster carers and we all enjoy working with you! – Jay Fostering.