Mo has been a foster carer for 22 years. Johanna came to live with Mo when she was 6 months old and stayed with Mo throughout her Foster Care Journey. Jo has now gone onto qualify as a fully trained midwife. Here is an interview with them both where they open up about their story…
Why did you choose to become a foster carer?
Mo: I was working as a manager of a housing project scheme, my husband had a sudden heart attack and passed away. I was under 50 so I wondered what I was going to do. My friend was a foster carer so had suggested I gave it a try, so I got in touch with Calon Cymru (pathway care at the time), and it all started from there.
How long did you think Jo would be with you for?
Mo: It was a parent and child placement so I knew that I would keep her while court proceedings are going on so normally this takes 6 months. This took longer on this occasion; the court order was granted when she was 2 and she continue to stay with me throughout. Jo’s birth mum was also living with me until Jo was 9.
What is your fondest memory of caring for Jo?
Mo: Jo was an early riser and was very much into doing arts and crafts. She would get up and make some extraordinary constructions and then take them into school to show the teachers and classmates.
How do you feel now that Jo is a qualified midwife?
Mo: Unbelievably proud. It wasn’t easy for her; she is very hands on but has to work hard with the theory, she persevered. I believe education is huge, so we have worked towards getting through the exams as when you have those you have so much more choice.
How long have you been fostering with CCF?
Mo: 22 years and looked after nearly 20 children
How have you been supported by CCF throughout your fostering journey, including any training you have done?
Mo: Very well, any issues I have had, Calon Cymru have supported me all the way. Everyone I have had contact with including the social workers and therapists have all been amazing.
Is there any other message or advice you would like to give to potential or new foster carers as a care experienced person?
Mo: You learn through experience. You can’t always do things right first time, but you learn. Be prepared for the unexpected.
Do you have any tips for a newly approved foster carer?
Mo: Take each day as it comes. Expect nothing from the children and be grateful if you get something. It is not easy. Every child is different.
What made you decide to go into the midwifery field?
Jo: The experience of being brought up around other children with different backgrounds with different needs. There were a lot of baby placements that Mo had when I was around, and I stepped into help care for them. My birth Mum also went on to have further children a lot younger than me, so I was around a lot of children.
How did Mo support you to become a midwife?
Jo: She supported me all the way, through everything. At high school, I was struggling with science and maths, so Mo got me tutors for these subjects and I went from getting E’s to B’s. She helped me get my first job whilst I was at college, so I was able to buy my first car. Mo helped me get ready for Uni and is still helping me now providing a place to stay while I save up for a house.
What were your aspirations growing up, did you always want to be a midwife?
Jo: I wanted to be a forensic scientist after watching detective TV programs with Mo. Then I looked into it and realised it wasn’t for me. I wanted something more specific working with children. I have always struggled to believe in myself but now I am realising I am doing something to help other women and young babies. I am so glad I chose midwifery.
What has been your experience of growing up with Mo as your foster carer mum?
Jo: So many positives have come from it. My birth Mum also lived with Jo until I was 9 and in that time Mo and I always had a good relationship but when she left our relationship grew stronger. My birth Mum will always be Mum but Mo has been my maternal figure. Mo is the best thing that could have happened to me, and my Mum agrees.
What did you call Mo?
Jo: I called her Mo Mo but I used to tell everyone she’s my Nan
Your experience/feelings around other children being cared for by Mo?
Jo: Absolutely fine, I take them all in as my siblings
How did CCF support you as you were growing up?
Jo: They were really good. They were there to help me whenever I needed them. Calon Cymru helped me with work experience, funding for tuition and accommodation for uni. Some aspects of being in care are not easy but Calon Cymru were able to work through things with me for example, when my Mum left Mo’s house that was a difficult time.
If you could describe being part of a fostering family in 3 words, what would they be?
Jo: Incredibly life changing.
If you think you could foster like Mo, talk to us on 029 2081 1173 or enquire here Contact Us – Calon Cymru Fostering