Lots of kids
Looking after five children – two adopted and three fostered on a short-term basis – has radically changed Dave’s way of life. Fostering never crossed my mind. I was a chef with no direct experience of parenting or links to the caring professions. Now I’m studying for a certificate in social care, have given up full-time work and am about to become the main carer for five children! It was my wife Sarah who first suggested fostering. She had worked in a children’s residential home. We both liked children and liked the idea of lots of kids passing through the house. We thought we could help them out and pass them on, either to return to their birth family or on to a new, permanent family. In due course we were approved as temporary foster carers for one or two children aged five to 12. In the end, twins – one girl, one boy – joined the family on the day after their fifth birthday.
The plan was that the twins, Sinead and Peter, should go back home to their birth mother after a few months, but as more and more was discovered about their previous experiences, it became clear that this was not appropriate, and the children’s social workers started talking about a permanent family for them. When asked, Sinead and Peter were very clear that if they couldn’t go back to their mum, they wanted to stay with us and we just thought ‘why not?’ They changed our minds for us… We were quite pleased. Most parents don’t get the chance to choose their children and most children don’t get the chance to choose their parents either. It’s worked out very well! Practically from the start the children called us ‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’, so the transition from fostering to adoption wasn’t that difficult, although when the adoption was granted, both Sarah and I felt quite emotional. It was very scary, being “owned” by them as parents and it is a lifetime commitment.