You don't have to be rich and live in a big fancy house - you just need a spare bedroom and plenty of love and patience
We live in Cheshire with our daughter Sian, three cats and a rabbit. We have been Foster Parents with By the Bridge since 2013. I, Cara, gave up my previous job to become the main Foster Parent and Ste continues to go out to work.
We had been thinking about fostering for about 3 years and in that time we did lots of research on different fostering companies, why people choose to foster and the different types of foster care that’s needed. This research showed us that you don't have to be rich and live in a big fancy house - you just need a spare bedroom and plenty of love and patience.
We included our daughter in the final stages of the decision making as we both felt really strongly that this was something that we had to agree on as a family as it would impact us all and change the way our family worked. It was important to us that we found a fostering company that shared the same family values as us. We believe we have found this in By the Bridge.
We made contact with several companies and from the first contact we were impressed with the service we received from By the Bridge. Information was sent out quickly, questions were answered without delay and nothing was too much trouble. The whole application and approval process was straightforward and we were kept informed at every stage. We made the decision to apply to foster with By the Bridge for a number of reasons including:
- They shared our belief that you foster 'as a family' and they provide help and support for birth children and extended family
- The variety of training on offer, both mandatory and optional, was far greater than at any other company we contacted
- Each family has a dedicated Link Worker that is always available for help and guidance
- An Out of Hours team is always available. This means that we are able to access someone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - just knowing someone is there is reassuring.
- Access to a monthly groups with other foster parents from your area
Since being approved as foster parents we have looked after a teenage girl and currently have a 9 year old boy who has communication difficulties. With every challenge we face our confidence grows and we feel that as a result of the on-going training we are not only better foster parents but we are also better parents to our own daughter. We have also seen our daughter's confidence grow and she gets a real sense of achievement when she has helped our foster child to do something they didn't think was possible.
We have also made some good friends through fostering, this was not something we were expecting, but the support we have received from them, our Link Worker and the Out of Hours team have really helped us settle into fostering, and we really can’t imagine wanting to do anything else.