Lesley was approved at panel in May 2021. She is a single carer who lives in Wigan. Lesley is a teacher and is able to continue working flexibility, alongside fostering.

I am relatively new to fostering and so far, so good!

I was a childhood trauma victim, my father was involved in a fatal road accident when I was just 7 years old, so I was brought up by my mum with my 13-year-old brother, we were like the 3 musketeers. There was no counselling and little support in those days, it was a case of, ‘no use crying we just have to get on with it’, and so we did. Despite this I was a relatively happy child, although I did always feel a little different as my family formation varied from most of my friends.

I was popular child amongst my friends, I think that was due to always laughing and joking, although often, that was not how I really felt. My brother married and had children of his own, we were all very close. I felt close to my extended family, aunties, and cousins.

Later in my life I met my partner who already had 2 sons from previous marriages, the youngest, was only 13 when we met and the oldest 23 who lived independently.

We became a ‘blended family’ at first, it was difficult as parenting any adolescence can be challenging, but being a ‘step mum, to an adolescent brings further challenges. We worked through it, and I am very proud of the man he has become, I don’t think I did a bad job! He now has his own children, and I am now a ‘Nana Lesley’.

I feel that I have helped guide them to being the confident determined young people they have flourished into.

As life moved along I cared for my mum, then my late partner who both I sadly lost and then I lost my brother too. I was used to people around the house and it was so empty.

I had considered fostering previously and I got to thinking that now appeared the perfect time. I am on my own with no one to look after as I have always been used to doing, and I recall how it felt to be that ”different” child.

Hence I took the first steps and soon it was all happening, references where sort and meetings went ahead and I was preparing for panel. Nothing during this process was ever daunting, it was a very interesting and a pleasant experience.

The training offered was informative and it can be taken at your own pace. It really helped me prepare, as well as recapping over things I knew but also made me reflect on my own feelings and actions, both present and past.

I had my first placement within 2 weeks of approval, and it was a fabulous experience, obviously there where little teething issues, supporting children coming into a stranger’s home and understanding how they may have felt, it must have been  very daunting for them, so I let them take their own time in their rooms to get themselves used to their new surroundings and soon they settled right in. I have really enjoyed having a lively house again and doing activities I used to enjoy doing with my granddaughters.

The children have now returned to their family homes, I feel I have done a good job and hope that they take some of the things that I have taught and instilled in them along our little journey together into their future lives.

I cannot wait for my next youngster to arrive.

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