18th April, 2023
We were lucky to catch up with Excel foster carers of five years, Lauren and John recently to talk about their experiences going from teacher to foster carer and all that entails.
Fostering has always been something on Lauren’s mind, with her own Nanna having experience within care, not all of it good, Lauren was keen to welcome vulnerable children into a loving home. So, when her and John got together it was always something they both aspired to.
Both teachers themselves, they have always loved being around children and they both maintain their teaching careers with John still working full-time as a Deputy Head Teacher, and Lauren as a part-time English teacher.
According to the pair, there is quite a lot of overlap between the two professions, from communicating with younger people, to safeguarding experience, and also with schools moving to becoming more trauma informed and sensitive to the needs of care experienced children.
Both jobs inform each other.
Lauren also talked about an unexpected benefit of her profession...
“Some of the children who come to us have a hard time at school, and they themselves have confessed that it is weird starting to see teachers as real people.”
Living with teachers has helped them to break down barriers with relationships in the school environment. Lauren continues,
With five children of their own and two foster children in situ, Lauren and John’s house is a bustling family home. Both keen to emphasise the focus on family.
“We feel like we are making a difference.”
Fostering has always been a family affair in their household. Initially, the couple had reservations about fostering when their children were young but after seeing a friends house hold with young children take fostering in their stride, they were keen to move forward.
And the experience was a positive one, with Lauren and John’s children taking in the foster child as one of their own.
“We found it really helped break the ice as they had someone their own age to relate too.”
However, it was not always plain sailing, when an early arrangement came to an end after four years together, the children found it hard and grieved for the absence of someone whom they had come to think of as a brother.
They discussed as a family unit, Lauren and John consulted with their older two children and decided to only take on short term fostering to protect the children from becoming attached. Yet, after not even three months when their oldest daughter approached them and confessed that they missed having another child in the house, as a family they decided to welcome a pair of siblings into their home on a long term basis once more.
“With seven children, we are certainly one very big, chaotic family.” Lauren laughs, “Having the older children involved in the decision making is so important. Everyone needs to be onboard when you foster. Now all the children are happy.”
Of course, the entire fostering family is important to take on board and to think about anyone else currently living in the home. Both Lauren and John benefit from regularly communicating with children and young people in their teaching roles, enabling them to pick out the right information to share, to make sure everyone is informed without being burdened.
Lauren also advises to arm yourself with all of the information that you can.
We loved the power in that statement. In our opinion Lauren couldn’t be more right, when it comes to fostering if you allow yourself to be open to each child, appreciate their uniqueness and be ready to adapt yourself to them. Well, then you can’t go far wrong.
If you’ve got any questions or would like to find out more about fostering with Capstone, fill out the form below.
An experienced fostering advisor from your local area will then be in touch.