Ellie and Tom had brought up three sons and their youngest son was about to leave home. Tom had worked all his life, since the age of 16 years and found himself redundant and unable to find work. Ellie had grown up in a family who foster and had fond memories of having girls placed in the family who were like sisters to her. She had always wanted to foster herself. Tom had been unable to find work for a year when Ellie saw an advertisement in the paper for Hope Fostering Services they decided they would apply to become foster parents. Tom had become quite despondent and hoped that fostering would give him a fulfilling career, as Ellie was working he would be the main carer.
Tom says “Since we phoned Hope Fostering Services to enquire about fostering we have never looked back. We think it is even more rewarding than we had expected it to be. It is so lovely to see that we can make a difference to young people’s lives and the young people who have been fostered by us have enhanced our lives too. It is hard to see children who are afraid and unhappy about coming into care and I enjoy helping them to settle and feel secure and to see how they grow and develop.
Of all the jobs I’ve done in my life this is the one that I have enjoyed the most and it gives me a feeling of achievement. It has been a really positive opportunity for us. I used to be worried and life was difficult when I was unemployed, now I wake up every day looking forward to the day feeling I have a sense of purpose. Although I am the main carer Ellie and I work together very much as a team.”
Ellie and Tom have had lots of contact with schools and social workers for the young people in their care and feel part of a strong team who are all working in the best interests of the children. They have found the training to be very interesting and helpful and say they have learned a lot and it is also an opportunity to get together with other Hope foster parents and share thoughts and ideas. Ellie has been able to give up work and they both devote themselves to fostering full time. They hope to be able to continue to foster for many years to come and say that although fostering has its difficulties they think this is far outweighed by the benefits.