Marilyn and Brian
Brian and I have been fostering for 22 years now. We fostered for three years with our local authority and have been fostering with Excel Fostering for 11 years now and we have not looked back.
When we initially thought about fostering, we sought to become foster parents because one of neighbours near by was already doing it and always encouraged us both to apply. We could not thank her enough for encouraging us both as it became the best decision we ever made.
We have looked after nearly 80 children over the years! Always looking after large sibling groups sometimes up to 5 children as we have the room. We also have looked after parent and child placements. For us fostering is all about keeping children together and we have always strived to do that.
We were both brought up in large families and have a large family of our own including our own birth children and the children we have adopted over the years. We are currently in the process of adopting another child who has grown up with the family and are hoping the adoption process will come to an end this year.
We always seek to embrace the foster children we care for and their own family. For us it is important to build a bond with the children’s family although you may not agree with situations that have happened, you must see past it. We encourage our foster children to have photos of their family around as we really feel it helps to settle them into our home.
Fostering makes a huge difference to the children we have cared for, yes it’s hard when they do have to leave whether this is onto adoption or being returned back to family however, in that period of time you know the child/ children were kept safe. We remain in close contact with nearly all the children we cared for whether this was a substantial amount of time or just a short period. Only last week I received a call from a now adult ex foster child who we fostered when she was very little. It was fantastic to hear that she was doing well and now had her very own family. At the time she left to return home which was the best thing for her.
We love seeing the difference we make to the children we look after; our youngest foster daughter was really subdued when she first arrived. She would not make eye contact with anyone and kept to herself. Now she is outgoing, sings on stage and has really blossomed into the child she always was. It is just wonderful witnessing the changes in all the children we foster and adopt.
We did not have any expectations about what fostering would be like. It does have its downs but for us the ups, outweigh everything else. We have made mistakes, but fostering is a learning curve. Attending support groups has really helped, being able to learn from others about how we could have handled a situation better makes such a difference and to share ideas really helps.
We have been fully supported throughout our time with Excel Fostering and we continue to receive such high support. We are nearing the end of our fostering career and will retire at some point soon. We really hope to encourage others to foster, it is something so unique and rewarding to do. How many other careers can you say you have helped over 80 children in some way keep safe? If you want to make a difference to a child/ children’s life and have a spare room we urge you to contact Excel Fostering you will not regret it.