Emma's experience as a foster carer in Rotherham
Emma has been fostering for six years and in that time has looked after 27 children and young people in the Rotherham area, ranging from birth to teenagers, providing emergency care, respite care, and short-term placements.
Emma and her husband have four young children together and the family had always talked about fostering. After experiencing a stillbirth, the family re-evaluated everything in their lives and, encouraged by a friend who is a foster carer, took the first step and got in touch with Fostering Rotherham. Once the application process started, it was a quick and straight-forward process: “They came out and did all the checks and booked us on the skills to foster course. The process is very thorough and friendly; in fact, we’re still friends with Joanne, who assessed us initially, even now she has moved on to a different job.”
The support and community for foster carers is great, despite the challenges of lockdowns and social distancing restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Emma said: “Obviously soft play and playgroups have stopped, but we have still been able to chat and give each other help and support using a Facebook group and online chats."
“Sadly, one of the carers lost a baby during lockdown and we couldn’t be there for her physically, but we made sure that we called her every evening as a group to give her support during that difficult time.”
As well as young children, she has looked after older teenagers including a 17-year-old girl who was starting to live independently. “She stayed with us for a few days before she went to live by herself, after that came and stayed for weekends and visited for Sunday lunch as she settled in.”
For Emma, some of the best moments are seeing the children go back to their families or become adopted. “The nicest thing is when the little ones move onto their new chapter. We keep in touch with most of the families – they send us cards and photos and updates on how the children are doing.”
“And the greatest achievement lies with our own children and the way they have embraced becoming a fostering family. They’ve never shown any signs of resentment or jealousy, and even their teachers at school have commented on how kind and compassionate they are.”
When asked what makes a good foster carer, Emma said: “We just enjoy fostering and helping the children and young people grow and progress. I think it’s important to be patient and caring in your approach with a sense of humour. Obviously, some of the children are scared or have been through trauma so it’s important to be able to separate the behaviour from the child.
I would encourage anyone thinking about being a foster carer to pick up the phone and speak to Fostering Rotherham. Take that first step or you’ll never know!”
Learn more about fostering in Rotherham
If you have any questions about fostering in Rotherham, book a call back with a member of our experienced team at a time that suits you. All our call backs are confidential.