Sara and Vic have been CFS foster carers since 2020. Based in Lancashire, Sara is a stay-at-home mum, taking care of two teenagers. Vic works in Banking and is currently working overseas. They live in Lancashire having moved from Surrey in 2005 and have fully embraced country life.
The couple have a daughter and son, who are living increasingly independent lives, who they adopted 15 years ago. They have so far fostered thirteen children on short term placements. The children were aged between 10 days and 13 years old.
They have been supported by specialist therapeutic support via CFS.
Growing a family:
“During the covid lockdown, we took the opportunity to discuss what we wanted to do next with our lives,” said Sara. “With both our children leaving home for university within the next 2 years, we agreed that it was the right time for me to pursue a passion of mine, which is to make a real difference to the lives of young children. Vic was immediately supportive as we had spent the best part of a decade in the Middle East, supporting his career moves.”
“We had seriously considered Fostering, before embarking on adoption and felt now was the right time in our lives to take the first step to find out more.” said Vic. “So, Sara firstly approached our local authority, who were surprisingly reticent to take on a local couple who had spent a few years overseas. It seemed that we didn’t meet their profile as I was still working overseas. We overcame this setback and found out about CFS via a Facebook post. Once we reached out, we were immediately made to feel welcome and started our fostering journey.”
Sara said “I remember the defining moment for me, it was during our Skills to Foster training, where we connected with other foster carers and immediately recognized that many of our experiences as adoptive parents would help us as foster carers. I also really appreciated the training hub and therapeutic support CFS were providing us. I only wish we were able to access these invaluable resources and support whilst brining up our own children.”
“For us, it was important to balance fostering with our family needs, especially with Vic working overseas, so we decided that we would put ourselves forward for short term placements and for younger sibling groups, as we are fortunate enough to have the space at home to accommodate them and meet their needs.”
The path to fostering:
After our first home visit from supervising social worker, the couple were convinced that this was the right thing for them and the family. Then Vic and Sara’s children were both consulted and were supportive. The training and assessments took place during the covid lockdown.
“We both felt that the lockdown actually helped us expedite the process, as zoom enabled the both of us to complete the assessments and interviews when we were over 3,000 miles apart,” said Sara.
“The preparation for Panel was planned well and even though we had gone through the experience before for adoption, it was nerve wrecking until we joined via Zoom, and started explaining to the panel why we wanted to be foster carers and what we could offer younger children,” said Sara. The couple were approved for a sibling group of two.
A few weeks later CFS called Sara with a potential placement of 8-year-old triplets. The local authority were looking to keep the children together, so were looking for a carer that could care for all three children. “We immediately felt a connection, and even though it was a lot for our first placement. We thought long and hard about how we would manage but decided we wanted to do it. Our supervising social worker requested an exemption to our original approval category. The children came from their birth home and were very scared and confused on arrival. The initial few days and weeks were challenging, but with the support of CFS and our fabulous support network the children settled well and we soon where into a routine. The placement was approximately ten weeks, and we could see a significant progression , before the children moved to long term foster carers. A few tears were shed that evening. We have so many very special memories, that will stay with me forever.”
Caring for Foster Children:
Following the triplets, we have had other placements including a ten-day old baby who had Covid to three siblings. Sara said “every placement has been different, as every child has different needs, but all of them have been rewarding. CFS have helped us both develop new skills and techniques to deal with a variety of situations. We were able to create a safe environment and develop confidence and trust with the children. We focussed on doing simple things like baking cakes, playing outside, exploring the countryside, and establishing routines and structures which really helped the children.”
Vic added: “many of the children arrive confused, scared and having experienced major trauma. The journey thereafter is full of ups and downs. Fortunately, we experienced more ups than downs and thanks to the amazing help and support of CFS, we fulfilled our goal of making a difference to the lives of children.”
Sara added: “ CFS have enabled me fulfil my dream job to make a difference to the lives of children in need. It has been the most challenging role I have ever had, but by far the most rewarding. Having the therapeutic and practical support from Cfs staff, plus the support and experience from foster Carers has made this journey amazing. I look forward to many more years as an active foster carer.”