My husband and I have a son, and we are Foster Parents to three other children as well. Giving children a safe, stable and loving home is a hugely rewarding thing to do, yet the workload is significant because in addition to running a normal family environment there is a procedural and administrative burden that goes with fostering. The hours are long, and the feeling of burn out is frequent.
I was born in Edinburgh in 1967, and have really fond memories of my childhood. As a young girl, I went to live with my Grandmother who I utterly adored, and can recall being totally devastated to not be allowed to attend her funeral when she passed away. After that I went to live with my elder brother and just fitted in around him and became a bit of a tomboy. At 17 I left home to live with my boyfriend, and shortly after moving in together, the relationship broke down and I found myself alone, expecting a baby and in debt. That time of my life really shaped me, because I took on our flat on my own, and raised my son – it was tough.
The Life Programme was an amazing experience for me, and it started with the 300 mile car journey to the venue. It might not seem much to some, but I saw it as an independent accomplishment because normally my husband would drive us everywhere. I took some very simple yet powerful things away from the programme; I learned a lot about myself, how others see me, and how to better understand aspects of my life that often bring confrontation. Learning more about what makes me tick, has helped me keep my emotions in check, and I now recognise a genuine desire to be more deeply invested in my relationship – not just the children, but with my husband and marriage too.
The children that we currently foster will be adopted early in 2015, and after that we have plans to establish greater balance in life, which for us is essential because we love fostering children and we want be able to enjoy it more than we already do.