the story of

claire, michael, alfie and rosie – life as a fostering family

Claire and Michael Hyett-Evans have been fostering with Foster Wales Swansea for five years, alongside their two children, Alfie (14) and Rosie (12).

Claire says that fostering has been a very positive experience for the whole family, especially her children who are really proud to be foster carers.

Being a fostering family will always be a big adjustment to the family home at first. Despite some of the challenges that our fostering families sometimes experience, many of our foster carers talk about the positives it has had on their own children, as do the children themselves.

Claire talks about how their fostering journey first started and how their kids reacted, whilst Alfie and Rosie reveal their true feelings around being part of a fostering family.

the foster family – why did you decide to foster?

Claire: “I knew for a long-time fostering would be something I would like to do but thought it would be something I would look into when we were a lot older, and our children had moved out. We had two birth children in a two-bedroom house so as they were getting older, we bought a four-bedroom house. Having the spare bedroom made me think could this be something we could do now. I didn’t know where to start so I googled fostering and made lots of enquiries to fostering agencies and was advised to contact my local authority. I contacted my local authority and had a home visit before we started our training, and the rest is history.” 

what were your children’s reactions when you discussed the idea of becoming a fostering family?

Claire: “Before we had our home visit, we sat the children down to talk about fostering. At first, they didn’t know what fostering was so they had lots of questions. We explained that this wasn’t something we were definitely going to be doing as we needed to find out if fostering was the right thing for us as a family. We explained that anytime in the process, if any of us didn’t want to do it, then we would stop. Their initial reaction was excitement as they just thought of fostering as having friends living with them.” 

how important is it to have your kids on board with fostering?

Claire: “This was the most important thing for us as we wanted our children to feel comfortable about fostering through the whole process. Naturally, my biggest worry was what impact would fostering have on them. I was very passionate about my children being part of the whole process; my assessor knew how important this was for us. She included them and worked so lovely with them – they played lots of fun games. They built a trusting relationship with her.” 

what advice would you give other parents who are considering fostering but are worried about the effects on their own children?

Claire: “I would say that this is a perfectly natural reaction to have as fostering has to be right for the whole family. It is important to talk to your children and check in on them whilst you are going through the process. It is important for them to have answers to the questions they may have. I would advise parents to have a conversation with other foster carers who have their own children living at home. This is something that your assessor can arrange for you. If fostering is something you are thinking about, the best way to start is to attend an online virtual event so you can get a feel for what fostering is about. Fostering has been a positive experience for our family, my children are proud to be foster carers.”

So…what do Alfie (14 years) and Rosie (12 years) really think about sharing their home with other children?

what are your thoughts about being part of a fostering family?

Alfie: “My thoughts of being a fostering family are positive. I like that my family helps vulnerable children to be safe. I like having a busy house, every day is different.”

Rosie: “It’s amazing because I have gained a brother, I love him so much.”

what are the rewards of being part of a fostering family?

Alfie: “The rewards are making a child feel welcome and part of our family. My foster brother has lived with us for over five years and I can see the difference my family has made to his life. I feel that fostering has played a part in shaping my life. When I chose my GCSE options in school, being a foster carer played a part in what I chose.” 

Rosie: “We have had lots of children living with us. Even though some have moved to live with their families, I still get to see them. I feel that I have so many more people in my life and have built lots of different friendships.” 

what challenges have you experienced?

Alfie: “Having to say bye to the children when they leave is hard. They live with us and it feels like they are a brother or sister. Sometimes I just wish they never have to leave.” 

Rosie: “Seeing the children having tantrums and meltdowns, especially when they are very loud. It’s not nice seeing my brother finding emotions so difficult and I wish I could take his worries away from him.”

what’s been your best memory/experience of fostering so far?

Alfie: “Meeting my foster brother for the first time was exciting. He was so adorable and funny, and I instantly wanted to protect him. 

Rosie: “Staying at Chessington World of Adventures with my foster siblings which we get to do every year. We have taken lots of children there and I like that I can show them around.” 

what would you say to other children whose parents are considering fostering?

Alfie: “Although it does make changes in your life, it has developed me as a character in regards to empathy and compassion. I have an understanding that not every child gets what I have, and I appreciate things more. I feel a sense of pride that I am making a difference to other children.” 

Rosie: “I would tell other children about all of the activities we get to do. I have done things like horse riding, surfing, muddy assault course, cookery lessons, Ninja Warrior, swimming, rock climbing, pottery lessons, graffiti workshop and lots more over the years. You get to meet other children of fostering families and make new friends.” 

would you recommend fostering to other families?

Alfie: “I would definitely recommend fostering to other families because of the rewards and benefits that come with it. I love being part of a fostering family and can’t remember what life was like without it.” 

Rosie: “Yes, I would recommend it. When I am asked this question, to me, being in a fostering family is just our family and my family is like any other family. We have lots of fun especially because we have a big family. I argue with my siblings and laugh with my siblings, to me it’s just a normal family. I just get to enjoy it with more people.”

want to begin your own fostering story?

If reading Claire, Michael, Alfie and Rosie’s story has made you think more about fostering, then why not contact our team today. We are happy to answer any questions you might have, or to help you start the process of becoming a foster carer yourself. Contact us today.

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