Jackie and Andrew live in Essex and have been fostering with By the Bridge for 9 years. We asked them a few questions on their experience of fostering. Jackie and Andrew are outstanding, actively involved members of our team who share their knowledge and experiences, support other foster parents, and help children and young people to be involved in By the Bridge events.
Why did you decide to foster?
Our friends had been fostering for a couple of years, so we had seen first-hand the challenges and joys that come with fostering children. In the meantime we had talked about fostering and what we could do for the children. We discussed this with our own children, and as a family we wanted to do it and we thought we could be good at it, so we decided to foster! Although we are the main foster parents we also consider that our own children are part of the team.
How is it going?
We care for three unrelated foster children and they each have different needs; everyone tells us that we are doing a great job, and we believe we are doing well. There are all sorts of things to deal with every day, but understanding their individual needs and being trained to work in a therapeutic way helps us deal with any challenges that come our way. All three of the children are doing really well and we are proud of them - and ourselves.
What’s it like being part of By the Bridge?
It’s like being part of a family. When we started fostering 9 years ago By the Bridge were new in Essex and, being new to fostering, we felt anxious and a bit nervous, going to meetings, meeting new people and listening to other people’s experiences of fostering. These feelings were soon gone. Everyone made us feel at ease. From day one we felt part of the family, and in 9 years we feel no different. The opportunities to expand your knowledge are endless, from workshops in supervision to training courses and even the excellent Certificate in Therapeutic Fostering. All of these have helped us understand why fostered children need the therapeutic care that we give.