At The CFT we understand that fostering with the sole intention of adoption is an ideal outcome for some families and the reason why they come into fostering. We are a fostering agency and our aims are the provision of care for children and young people who are in vulnerable positions, whose families need time to address issues in the care of their children.
We want foster carers to provide love and care to lots of children and not just for the intention to adopt. However, no two foster placements are alike and scenarious can provide opportunities where adoption is right for the family and the children in care.
Mandy and Ken’s experiences are testiment to how fostering and adoption can work simultaneously, with the help of The CFT.
Mandy & Ken’s Story
– What made you consider becoming a foster carer?
Ken and I had both fostered with our previous spouses, with Ken going on to adopt his daughter. I was in a job I didn’t enjoy when my youngest daughter (who was at uni but lived with us) suggested we should foster together. She pointed out it was something we had both done before and she knew how much I had enjoyed taking children into our home.
Let’s be honest sharing your parents can be pretty difficult, it was hugely reassuring that my daughter had enjoyed growing up with foster children around. Now suggesting bringing more into the family home!
I’ve always been proud of how our children accepted others from very different backgrounds, and have been great role models for them. I was always conscious that they didn’t really have a choice at times, and as teenagers, they may have needed more from us than they got..
– What made you pick The CFT?
We had planned to meet with a few fostering agencies, we had only met with the local authority before our arranged meeting with The Children’s Family Trust. The day Marina Mullholland knocked on our door we knew we would resume our fostering journey together with The CFT.
It soon became clear that CFT valued their carers as professionals and the level of support would be high for us, members of the family and most importantly for the foster children.
The staff are approachable and helpful and we valued their ethos of ‘Family for Life’.
– How did you find the assessment process, did you feel fully supported throughout?
We started the form F assessment with Jayne, who soon became a regular visitor to the family home. She was very open and honest throughout the whole thing.
The process can seem drawn out, even intrusive and can bring memories and events to your foremind that you may have chosen to ‘forget’. This did allow us time to reflect and make sure fostering was the right decision. Along with the skills to foster training this proves to be a very important part of the fostering journey.
Once completed we went to panel. This can be pretty intimidating, sitting around a table with specialists ready with their questions, but they make you feel welcome and relaxed.
– With your first placement, how did you settle into a routine? Were there any particular difficulties?
Once accepted, we waited for the call telling us some children may be on the way! It seemed a long wait but it really wasn’t and care goes into matching your family with children which is so important.
When the children first arrived I’m pretty sure it’s organised chaos for a few weeks or longer, you discover a new routine without trying and everything does fall into place.
– Did you feel any nervousness or anxiety? How did you overcome those feelings?
Fostering is a life filled with many surprises, and not always good ones.
There have been occasions I have found myself sitting on the stairs with my head in my hands asking why I continue to put myself and my family through this. But all with support from The CFT.
Despite the downsides, there are many days where I feel like I’m in the most privileged of positions.
– Has fostering affected your lives beyond your placement?
Then we fast forward ten years and we have adopted R & R who came to live with us that November night scared, tired and confused. The CFT has never stopped supporting us through the adoption process and beyond, R & R are included in activities and events; celebrating Christmasses, and birthdays so yes ‘Family for life’ means just that!
And so it starts all over again, we had the pleasure of A coming to live with us, feeling a little anxious as we hadn’t welcomed a child into our home for a number of years, and now with two adopted sons.
This was only meant to be a weekend emergency sleepover but we got on well and once A knew he couldn’t return to his previous home he requested to stay – the rest is history!
Almost 4 years later he has developed a huge amount of confidence, has secured an apprenticeship with Porsche and has moved into independent living close to work. We still see him almost as much as when he lived with us and we couldn’t be prouder of everything he has achieved so far.
Now we move onto the next chapter of our 12-year fostering career with CFT, waiting with anticipation to welcome the next young person into our (sometimes) chaotic home.
Knowing CFT will always ‘have our backs’ and hoping the union will continue for many years.
Fostering and adoption with The CFT
Mandy and Ken’s story illustrates how plans can change in foster care. No matter what decisions our carers make in relation to the children in their care, when you join The CFT, you gain a support network that continues to act in the benefit of your family and children in your care.
Mandy and Ken are proof that even after a break from fostering, the will to care for young vulnerable people never leaves you. Through fostering and adoption, The CFT will be there every step of the way!