When Ali was young, she was always a straight-A student but when she was exposed to her parent’s abusive relationship, her path changed. As a result, when she was a teenager, she started experimenting with illegal substances.
As she grew older and received the help and support she needed, she got back on track and had a son of her own. Soon after, Ali realised she wanted more children but was never in a position to do so due to her failed relationships.
However, following her desire to provide young people with the support and love they’d otherwise be missing, she decided to foster. Ali explained; “When I saw how happy my son was, and how conscientious he is with others, I realised I was a good mum. I’d been able to give him everything I didn’t have, and I wanted to be able to give other children the same chance to experience that happiness too.”
With the extensive checks required for the fostering application process, she did find it tough as it brought back tough memories of her past.
So, for anyone who is concerned with the application process, Ali advises; “Always keep in your mind the good things you can do for children in need. Yes, it can be hard to remember certain things, but the outcome will always be rewarding.”
When her first long-term foster children went back to their birth mother, she was heart-broken and considered giving it all up. With some reflection and open-minded thinking, she eventually returned to fostering with Orange Grove Fostercare in Merseyside.
Going through the rigorous training provided by Orange Grove, she felt much more prepared when she welcomed her next long-term foster child. Ali said; “When he first came to live with me, he was very upset and vulnerable and trying to gain trust was difficult, however after using all of the tools and training available to help support him, I began to see an amazing change in him which has been extremely rewarding.”
Ali has always felt that those new, unknown situations and experiences are hard to handle, but she always takes the time to step back and analyse the situation before taking action.
With her current foster child, it has been a steep learning curve; “When he first came home, he faced challenges with eating habits. It was a difficult situation to be faced with, but we’ve persevered and now he eats absolutely everything. He’s even started helping out in the kitchen!”
She’s also been inspired by how well his attitude has improved; “He’s turned into such an intelligent, cheeky boy. He may not have understood how to behave with others in the past, but I can honestly say he’s come out the other side. It’s working progress but his future now looks a lot brighter.”
“Whenever I hear about the good things he’s done or the milestones he’s achieved, I melt a little bit.”
The transition into her current family set up wasn’t hard either. Living at home with both Ali and her son, the young teen quickly integrated into everyday life, and now looks up to the older son as a brother, someone he can trust and provide ongoing guidance and support through the tricky life of a teenager.
Ali added; “When you meet a child placed in foster care for the first time in can be quite upsetting seeing them so unhappy, so when you start to see that change in their mood and attitude, it’s immensely gratifying. There are moments where I’m just pottering around the house and I’ll hear him laugh in his room or smile at something on the TV and I’ll be flooded with joy, thinking about how far he’s come.”
“There may be tough times, but always remember: today’s another day.”
Alison is part of our North West fostering team. If you’d like to transform the lives of children in your local community, then we’d love to hear from you.
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