Wednesday, 26 May 2010

My memories of being fostered

David shares his memories and positive experience of being fostered back in the 1960's

Hello. My name is David. I’m 46 years old and proud to consider myself a member of the same family which fostered me in 1965. I have two younger foster brothers and a foster sister who grew up with me and who treat me as their own.

The truth is that I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know I was fostered. Now I come to think of it, I also can’t remember a time when there wasn’t at least one other foster child staying with the family besides me. I can often remember my father coming home from work to a new face at the supper table. My (foster) mother is now in her 70’s and only just thinking about retiring after positively touching the lives of well over 80 children. The constant flow of photographs, letters and postcards from former foster children are a testament to her dedication, and their affection for her.

I was fostered rather than adopted because I was born with congenital heart problems, which in those days meant that I could not be released for adoption. I therefore spent the first year of my life with (Dr) Barnardo’s in Barkingside, Essex before a young clergyman and his wife found me simply too irresistible – more fool them.

For me the secret of successful fostering (or adoption) is the integration of a child into another family, allowing that child to fully participate in family life, whilst recognising the differences and issues that inevitably surface from time to time. I can remember being offered adoption when I was about twelve, but declining it. Looking back, the fact that I felt confident enough to decline can only be attributed to the sense of security I felt – I already belonged so why change?

Of course, it hasn’t all been plain sailing for me or my foster family. Like most people who have been fostered or adopted, I have experienced periods of self-doubt - the ‘why?’, ‘what if’ and ‘who am I?’ questions popping into my head on many occasions and often at the most unexpected times. Anyone looking to foster or adopt must expect these and be prepared for the episodes of insecurity. They are natural, they will happen, but with careful handling they will also pass.

Would I recommend becoming an adoptive or foster parent to anyone considering it? – Well, I’m proud to have been fostered and I love my family. You could have that effect on someone too, so go for it!

For more stories about fostering visit our Be My Parent site.


Ali said...

Ahhh that's lovely and so very positive. Thanks for sharing. x

Anonymous said...

David, it is great to hear a positive piece about the experience of being fostered. Thanks for sharing this. Sue

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