A family that fosters
Being part of a fostering family.
This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SpunOut.ie. It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for SpunOut.ie please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
"We were their family for the time that they stayed with us and we had to treat them like family too"
Six years ago, two little girls came to stay with my family and I remember one day, one of the girls went into my mother and asked if she could go to the toilet, the next thing I remember looking out the window and seeing this little blonde girl squatting in the back garden trying to find leaves to wipe herself with. Neither of them had used a toilet before in their lives.
Twelve years ago my family started fostering children. Sharing your house with strangers can be very uncomfortable, and even scary. When my sisters and I were told that we were going to have new children come and stay with us sometimes, we didn’t really know what to expect and to be honest we didn’t want it. Twelve years on, I don’t know what my life would be like if I wasn’t a foster brother to so many amazing children.
My sisters and I were told all about fostering and that children who were having problems with their family would be coming to stay with us until all the problems were sorted out, but it didn’t stop us from thinking that the children were sent to us because of something they did wrong. The most important thing I have learned from being a foster brother is to know that children who come into foster care have done nothing wrong.
I remember the first two kids who came to stay with us, a boy who was four years old and his sister who was five years old. We didn’t have a clue what was going on, we didn’t know how to act or how to talk to the kids. They were screaming and crying because they had just been taken away from their family so it’s hard to talk to anyone when they’re in such a state.
It’s so important to make the young people feel as welcome as possible when they’re feeling so low. We were their family for the time that they stayed with us and we had to treat them like family too. This was very difficult for us to do because we were children too at the time as well. After a few days, because we made them feel so welcome, we started to get on great and they just became part of our family. We did everything together and then one day, they were gone and we haven’t heard from them since.
Sometimes you don’t know how long the children will be in your house for, and that’s why it’s so important for foster families to make children feel welcome in your home and comfortable enough to talk to you. The memories that you give them of your home are memories that they will have for the rest of their lives, especially seeing as they’ve just gone through a very tough experience.
The two girls that I talked about at the start have been part of my family for the past six years and I now consider them as my own sisters. My family fostering children has changed my life completely in nothing but a positive way.