I was 3yrs when I first came into care and am 26 years old now. The last foster carer I had before I left care was Andy and that was where I really grew up, and discovered who I was, what I wanted and what I could achieve.
When I was 16 years old, I used to come to Andy’s for respite care from my previous foster carer. I used to think, then “I wish I lived here all the time”. That wish came true when I came to leave my previous foster carer and Andy said I could go and live with her.
I get on really well with her birth children that makes it easy. She is very different to other foster carers, she let me grow up and gave me space and freedom. What you have to realise is that everyone is different but with Andy it felt like a good match. She has fostered for long time and has lots of experience.
She has fostered over 100 kids. I am so glad she didn’t decide to retire. Andy always said to me that everything happens for a reason. I left Andy when I was 20 and I was lucky enough to get my own Housing Association flat. By then I had met my boyfriend and I went on to work as a care assistant which I love. We are saving now to buy our own house Before I left, Andy took us both on holiday to Ibiza. Every day I still miss living with Andy and continue to visit her and her family.
Fostering isn’t easy, you need to like kids a lot, I am very glad Andy was there for me and still is. Look at what she’s like!
Shelley’s story – parent and child placement with Amicus
“I was living with my partner far away from my family and social services didn’t feel that I had enough support to manage with my baby at home by myself. I suffer with a lot of anxiety and in the past I have been in violent relationships and struggled with drugs and alcohol. I have had a lot of involvement with social workers in the past and I have not been able to look after my older children, one of them was adopted. Now the court want an assessment to be completed on my parenting before I go home with my baby.
I met my carers when I was in hospital and I told them I didn’t want to go to stay with them and I was very unhappy, I couldn’t stop crying. A few days later they picked me up and drove me to their home with my baby, I knew that I didn’t have a choice if I wanted to be with my son. They welcomed me into their home. I have my own bedroom and bathroom where I stay with my son. They make sure I have everything I need to care for my baby and myself. They offer advice and support and most of the time I look after my baby independently. It’s good to have them nearby to give me support when I need and tell me when I’m doing things well. It is a very stressful time for me and I have lots of important meetings when people talk to me about what will happen and explain the assessment and court proceedings. My carers stay with me during some difficult situations like meetings with my social work and solicitors and doctors; they make sure I have all the reports that are written about me and explain anything that I don’t understand.” (Shelley)
I have seen how they live together as a family and they are very close, happy, loving, caring, kind – I see how they complement each other and always talk about what they’ve been doing. We sit and have a meal in the evening; we talk about the day and anything that might be worrying us. I have never seen them argue or disagree. In one way this makes me feel sad because I haven’t had this in my own life but it gives me hope that I could live like this in the future.
Of course, I would like to live with my baby and my partner but my carers have made a very difficult situation easier for me and they are doing a great job. I feel that they care about me and my baby and they are in it to help the people who are having problems. They are doing a really important job and there needs to be more foster carers.”