When I met my husband, Justin, I had two daughters and so did he. Within a year we’d become one family living under the same roof. Any step parent would know that bringing two families together can be challenging to say the least! Close to a year later, we welcomed our fifth daughter.
We decided to become foster carers after seeing an ad in the school newsletter, Justin said it was something he’d always like to do, and so had I. In the space of two years we have welcomed 12 children into our home, most just for a night or two, we found it fit easily into our family’s routine.
We’ve had our current foster son for two years now, he’s 10, we’re hoping the courts will transition him permanently into our care. We’ve embraced him completely as part of our family, it’s just like having another child.
It’s been incredibly rewarding seeing the progress he’s made since being with us; he’s made advances academically and we’ve seen improvements in his confidence and independence. Our girls have learnt a lot from him too, they say they want to be foster carers when they grow up; I think it’s important to teach them compassion for others.
I came from a big family myself, my mother had six children and now so do I (albeit, in a different way). My mother was an incredible role model for me, she was generous and always enjoyed having company. We would have extra people around our table at Christmas and Sunday lunch, we had friends and relatives stay often. My mum passed away before we began fostering, but I feel she definitely inspired it. My brothers often tell me how proud she’d be of us.
For the past three years, I’ve found Mother’s Day strange without my mum. Even though I’m a mother myself, I don’t love the attention that comes with Mother’s Day; I’d much rather direct the focus to someone else! Mother’s Day in our house is a little complicated at the best of times, our kids are often buying for their biological mothers as well as their step mothers – it’s definitely not the ‘breakfast in bed’ kind of day that many households would be familiar with!
This year, however, will be different for us again. It’ll be the first Mother’s Day since my foster son lost his biological mother. She passed away unexpectedly a few weeks after Mother’s Day 2018. My foster son still has the present he bought for her last year, but wasn’t able to give it to her before she died. We named a star after her in her memory, so he knows that no matter where he is, she’ll be looking over him. On Sunday I want to take him out and find her star, I want us all to make a special effort to remember her. But also for him to know that he has our family, and that we love him very much.
For me, becoming a mother changes your whole perspective on life. I don’t know what I did before I became a mother, and I don’t know what I’d do now if I wasn’t. There are difficult times and huge challenges definitely, but you get through them. I’m finding more and more as I get older how much I appreciate my own mum and all she did for us, I wish I could tell her. I hope my children feel the same when they grow up, I hope I can be there for them, all six of them. Being a mum is all consuming, but it’s wonderful and I wouldn’t change it.
Interested in becoming a foster carer? Learn more over on our foster care page.