Alex, a relatively new foster carer, recently welcomed a 13-year-old girl into her home, having become estranged from her parents as a result of COVID-19.
Finding a way to build trust from the beginning of a placement is an important skill to being a good carer. Alex explains: “We spent some time talking about the recent series of events which led her to stay with me. We also talked a bit about family life and what it’s like living with a disabled mum – something we found that we have in common, which helped us bond."
Talking about how she supported her foster child to settle during the first few days, Alex says: “She loved my Caribbean cooking. Although very different to what she was used to, she told me her favourite meals which I made to make her feel welcome."
Taking on the challenges of coronavirus, Alex explains: “We discussed why it’s important to maintain physical distancing to protect others. I have asthma so I’m high-risk and pretty diligent with everyone in my household, checking for symptoms - this was no different."
She continues: “Like all kids, foster children need strong leadership. Building trust is vital, as is patience. They respect you more when you set clear ground rules.”
Alex emphasises that the rewards of caring are as much about personal development as the contribution you make: "For me, it's about being able to have a positive influence in a child’s life. You're often helping them recover from trauma so it can be tough, but the challenging times are when you reflect and learn about yourself which can be empowering."
"Fostering has given me and my children new opportunities to see things through someone else's experience, to give something back and appreciate what we have."