As we come to the end of our first year as Foster Parents with By the Bridge, we cannot wait to share our amazing journey with such an incredible and professional company.
My husband, Neil and I, had been Foster Parents for approximately 8 years in the past with another agency, but unfortunately Neil had become poorly, and we decided that we would take a break to get through this difficult time. After 5 years we were finally in a position to open our hearts and home to another child in need of a loving home again. After long discussions with our children and family members we decided it was the right time to start looking into fostering again.
Our close friends had spoken with us about an agency they worked for called By the Bridge and they couldn’t recommend them enough. We spent some time looking through the website and listening to our friends about how professional and caring this company is and made the decision to give By the Bridge a call.
We knew straight away just from the first phone call that we would feel at home with them. We were sent the initial application to complete and then we were told we would get a call once they had read through it. Not long later we got the exiting call that they would like us to attend the two-day training course.
When we arrived at the beautiful location that was provided for this course, we spent two days in the company of some lovely, professional and caring people and we knew instantly that we would be really upset if we didn’t get through to the next stage. At the end of the two days however, much to our delight, we were told that we were through to the next stage and that our journey was to begin.
After a few months of long in-depth meetings and references to be completed we were given a date for Panel for January 2020, of which we were so excited. The panel were very welcoming and couldn’t have made us feel any more comfortable. After about an hour altogether we were told the fantastic news that they were approving us to be Foster Parents.
Neil and I were then allocated our Supervising Social Worker, Julie, who made us feel very welcome and gave us all the relevant information, numbers and resources we needed to get us started. Julie is an amazing lady, and we couldn’t have asked for anybody better to help us with the journey to come.
After a few weeks we received our first referral, a 14-year-old boy from London. He had been moved a lot within the year and half of being in care and he desperately needed a stable loving home. After discussions with our Supervising Social Worker and children we decided that we would like to be put forward to be this young boys Foster Parents. Within the next couple of days, the Local Authority decided that we were the right match for him and that he would join our family a couple of days later.
When Callum* joined us, he was very quiet, and you could see he needed a loving caring family so much. His previous placements had been very challenging as he did his best to breakdown the placement as he felt that he wasn’t worth of being loved and he felt that rules and boundaries do not apply to him.
We were determined to make this young boy feel loved and cared for as one of our own and that as one of our children he would also have rules and boundaries to abide by. He also had difficulties with his education as he had not been in school for a chunk of his childhood. After long discussions with the right professionals, we were able to get him settled in school and home.
Callum has been with us now the whole time we have been with By the Bridge and has realised that he can be loved and is starting to show love/emotions back. He has had a birthday and Christmas with us, and he was very overwhelmed with the presents and being part of the family. We have had many challenges along the way, but we could not have got through this first year without the care and support from everyone at By the Bridge. Our Supervising Social Worker and all the other professionals that we have dealt with have been there for us every step of the way. They have made us feel and continue to make us feel that we are doing an amazing job. We can honestly say that we can’t think of enough words to make people know how much By the Bridge and our Supervising Social Worker have supported us and made us feel we are part of their family.
We look forward to continuing to be part of By the Bridge and feel blessed that they feel the same way about us. We consider By the Bridge with Cambian to be extremely caring and professional and one of the best Fostering agencies around so if you are thinking about what fostering company to apply to then we believe you would not be disappointed in joining us.
*names have been changed to protect children and young people's identity
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