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Sarah's Fostering Journey

Sarah shares how empty nest syndrome was the motivation she needed to become a foster parent and the incredible journey she's been on ever since.

September 27 2022 - 5 min read

Sarah Foster Parent From Walsall (1)

Sarah, a foster parent from Walsall, began her fostering journey seven years ago after suffering from empty nest syndrome.

She said: “My son went to a specialist boarding school in Shrewsbury for his Autism and came home to visit on weekends. He then went to a college at the same place and met a girl there who he lives with now.

“I suffered from empty nest syndrome when he left. For me, the more children the better because I come from a big family. I always wanted a lot of children.”

Sarah revealed how the whole family, including her son, was involved in the fostering process. She said: “Our son was involved from the start and was very positive about it. He has worked with children with disabilities, so it was fitting that we decided to foster children and young people with disabilities.”

Sarah reflected on her journey so far and how children have brought the house to life.

She said: “We had our first foster child for nearly six years from the age of 10, he had a range of severe disabilities. He left us about a year ago.

“In addition to some respite fostering, we then had a young girl who we’ve had for three years. She was very traumatised when she arrived with us, she used to scream for hours when we put her to bed. We thought she would have to go into residential care. I used to sit with her and gradually over time she got better and better. She’s now in mainstream school and takes herself to bed. She’s like my real daughter.”

She continued: “In December last year, we also introduced three siblings to the house, aged three, five and seven. They are a whirlwind but it’s great. The house just feels alive now, I love it!”

When asked about her relationship with her foster children, Sarah said: “Even though they are my foster children and not biologically mine, I still see them as my own.

“I remember when I told my oldest that I love her in the same way I love my son - she cried. We both had a cuddle and cried together on the sofa. She doesn’t usually like showing her emotions but that hit her hard. I find it important to keep reminding her that I love her.”

Sarah later reflected on how fostering siblings differed from a single child. She said: “The siblings were very excited and relaxed straight away when they arrived with us. Because they have that bond, being in a new environment doesn’t affect them as much because they have each other.”

She thought about the biggest changes she has seen in the children since arriving with her and said: “My first child had a lot of behavioural issues and a speech impediment and after two years of being with us, he won an award from the local authority for the biggest transition.

“People were able to fully understand him and when our social worker came around she couldn’t believe that she could have a full conversation with him!”

Sarah continued: “The progress I have seen is incredible! Even my youngest one, he couldn’t speak when he first arrived, but now he speaks a lot. He can say full sentences which is something he couldn’t do before.”

When asked about her most memorable moments, Sarah said: “Something that I find amazing is every time the children say ‘I love you’ for the first time. That always gets me. One example is when one of the siblings who doesn’t show any emotion said to the social worker, ‘I like Sarah and I love living with her’. It’s these moments that catch me off guard.”

She continued: “The things they do for the first time are so memorable. One of the children had never had an ice cream before and seeing them have it for the first time was lovely. Giving them things they have never had is like trying to fit in pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that they have missed.”

Sarah has found her fostering experience to be wholly rewarding: “Fostering is a really rewarding experience. It’s completely changed my life but for the better. It's total chaos in my house, but happy chaos.”

“The house is alive now and it's full of life and laughter. And that's the best thing in the world.”

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