the story of

it’s not just parents who foster, their own children do too!

Choosing to foster when you have your own children living at home, is a big decision to make. It’s essential that children are part of the decision-making process and have an understanding of what fostering involves.

Lucy and Johnny have been fostering since 2021 and have three children of their own, George, Arthur, and Edie. When they made the decision to foster as a family, the kids were aged 5, 10 and 12 years old.

But Lucy says that it wasn’t a decision that they took lightly or made quickly.

what made you decide to foster?

Lucy: “It was a decision that was taken over many years really with the odd conversation about it every now and again. However, the reason why I ended up making the phone call to Foster Wales Swansea was because of my son’s friend. They were in the same class at school but his friend was living in a residential home with different staff picking him up every day and he didn’t seem to have the usual family home life. The thought of this is what made me eventually pick up the phone. We didn’t know anything about fostering at the time but knew that we had a spare bedroom and could offer that safe and nurturing family environment to a child.”

Whilst Lucy and Johnny spoke about the idea of fostering, they very much included their children in the discussions.

what were your children’s reactions with the idea of becoming a fostering family…

Lucy: “Our children are mostly chatty, sociable and busy, so the thought of another child in the mix didn’t seem to faze them at the time. They seemed happy with the idea of someone coming to live with us short term (we initially only wanted to do respite) and thought it would be fun. I do wish with hindsight, that we had had more discussions with them about fostering and prepared them better than we did!”

However, it’s crucial that children are on boarding with opening their home to other children who are less fortunate than them.

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

Lucy: “Our three children lead Johnny and I as foster carers, and their happiness within our fostering family is our absolute priority. If they’re not on board and happy sharing their home and family, then we wouldn’t be able to continue fostering.”

Many people express an interest in fostering but are too worried of the effects it might have on their own children. This is a very natural and understandable reaction but no fostering service would ever want to pressurise a family if their own children weren’t 100% on board. Many of our foster carers who have their own children living at home, often talk about how fostering has actually had a good effect on their children – namely that they realise how lucky they are, the positive effects of being a good role model, and have learnt to be more patient, understanding, and caring.

Lucy is no different and can see how her own children have grown and developed since becoming a fostering family, but what advice would she give to other parents who are considering fostering?

what advice would you give to other parents who are considering fostering?

Lucy: “I would do lots of research online about fostering in general and think about the type of fostering that would suit you as a family… such as, whether your children would prefer someone settled in the family long-term, having children back and forth for shorter periods of time, or whether they were prefer babies or younger children who will go on to be adopted.

“I would also ask to speak to a foster carer who has children of a similar age to you so you can hear the absolute reality/ lived experience of it. Knowledge is power and confidence, and I felt that even after the assessment process, we weren’t prepared and had been hit by a bus when we actually started!”

So…what do Lucy and Johnny’s children really think about being part of a fostering family?

how do you deal with a new foster child coming to live with you?

Arthur (13):“Fostering is a little bit like when a new child joins your class in school, as the foster child looks nervous when they walk in, so I try to be as friendly as I can. The first thing I do is to show them the fridge and where the snack cupboard is, as I think that would be the first thing I would want to know!”

what have you learnt since becoming a fostering family?

George (15): “I have always thought that every child and teenager had the same good life as me, but since we started fostering, I’ve realised that not everyone can live with their family. We’ve had three people come to live with us, and most of the time it has been great.”

Edith (8): “I like being kind, helpful and bossy so fostering is good for me, and it might be good for you too.”

what are the positives / rewards of fostering?

George: “The good part of fostering is that our home is fun and busy, and there is always someone to talk to and mess around with. It feels good when they seem happy and comfortable in our home.”

Arthur: “I like knowing that I’m helping someone out who needs it. I have been lucky having two boys here who liked playing football with me.”

Edith: “Fostering is really good now we have a girl living with us as I think she is like my sister, which is better than having two stinky brothers! We really like having spas together, doing gymnastics on the trampoline and making dancing videos together.”

Arthur: “I like meeting new people and I like the parties and other fun things we do as a foster family like surfing and graffiti painting.”

George: “The really really really best bit about fostering is that my mum doesn’t nag me anymore about drinking water, eating more fruit, putting my phone away or tidying my room! She says that I am kind as I fostering big brother, and she only seems to care about that now, which is brilliant for me!”     

what can be the challenges of fostering? 

George: “The hard bit is when the child is annoying, as they can shout really loudly and don’t always do the right thing! The young person can be upset too, which is hard to see and I don’t know what to say to help them.”

Arthur: “I don’t like it when the foster child is grumpy, but I think I understand why they are now. We have someone living with us who is laughing more at funny things with us now.”

Edith: “I don’t like it when she takes things from my room without asking though. I keep telling her to ask first but she keeps forgetting, but I keep forgetting my times tables!”

lucy reflects on her children’s honest opinions about being part of a fostering family.

Lucy: “Seeing my children show kindness, patience and understanding to a child or young person in need is absolutely all I care about now, and whilst they drive me crazy on almost a daily basis, I am incredibly proud of them for the amazing role they play in our fostering family.

“Fostering has brought out the best in them (most of the time!) and has shown them first-hand the power of kindness.

“I laugh out loud though when I read George’s comment about me nagging less about him eating more fruit and drinking more water since we started fostering, as he is right. Since we started fostering, it doesn’t seem as important as it once did.”

get in touch

If you’re thinking about fostering but naturally worried how it will affect your own children, then chat to a member of the Foster Wales Swansea Team. They can explain the process, how your children are involved, and how we support them once you become approved foster carers. Contact us today for an informal discussion.

If you’d like to learn more about the effects of fostering on your own children, including what support is available, please read our blog.

You can also find out the answers to commonly asked questions here.

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  • If you’re looking to request an information pack, ask a question or make the first step to becoming a foster carer, we’re here to help. Simply fill out the form and a member of our dedicated team will be in touch with you shortly.