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Finding Joy in Unexpected Places: Sarah’s* Story

Sarah's Blog (800 X 600 Px)

Hi, I’m Sarah*. I met my husband when I was nearly 40, we fell in love quickly and it wasn’t long before we started talking about having a family. Ever the realists, we knew that my age was against us and the large family we had dreamt of was unlikely naturally. Jack* had joked that we needed three sets of twins and a couple of spares to fill our dining table so we knew we would have to look to fostering or adoption to help us build our family life. Both of us were blessed with loving supportive families, with cousins, nieces and nephews, and we just knew we could love other people’s children too.

After a couple of years and despite three tries of IVF we had to accept it wasn’t going to happen for us. We felt that having a family and children in our lives was far more important than having our family naturally, and even agreed that fostering without our own could even be seen as a bonus.

Initially, we started our fostering journey with the local authority. We were so excited to be accepted and started the long process of being assessed. I guess you could say it’s probably the longest job interview in the world!  

Eventually, we made it to panel and were amazed that the local authority had already identified a young person to place in our care as soon as we were accepted. We celebrated our confirmation that evening and had our very first placement the following day. The young man did have some really challenging behaviours but nonetheless, we thoroughly enjoyed rising to the challenges that he brought with him.

We naturally seemed to play to our strengths. Jack* did a lot of the head stuff and I was the engine room; food, clothes, comfort, and together we rode every roller coaster together. On reflection, this placement gave me a really good grounding for every placement that came in the future.

Unfortunately, I lost Jack* two years in and despite having a really good relationship with our placement he was eventually moved to another couple who could offer a better location for him. Over the years I continued to foster. It wasn’t easy and I often found myself thinking ‘What would Jack do now?’.  I firmly believe he guides me and is cheering me on always.

I fostered sibling groups, girls and boys and usually the more challenging ones who often moved placement regularly. It was a good fostering experience and I really enjoyed having the young people in my care but my friends were concerned that I seemed to be lacking support and felt I was too vulnerable as I often found myself with a full house with little backup.

Eventually, 8 years ago, I made the move to Calon. I had been told I would find it very different and I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I have often said it was like coming from a black and white movie into glorious technicolour. Moving to Calon was a fantastic move and I’ve never regretted it. I felt welcomed, supported, valued and part of a team.

I got an experienced supervising social worker who I see every two weeks and who is interested in how I am as well as how the placement is going. I get 24-hour back up should I ever need it with an on-duty supervising social worker at the end of the phone who will come out to me, even at 2 in the morning if necessary! Especially important as I’m a single foster carer.

There is regular training covering all aspects of fostering and it adds value to what I do and helps me develop my fostering skills and understanding. We have support workshops and socials where I meet with other foster carers and social workers. It’s fun to hear what everyone else is up to.

I’ve spent most of my fostering journey fostering challenging teenagers but recently wanted a bit of a change so I moved over to P&C or parent and child. This is usually a mum with a baby but can include dad too. I’ve really enjoyed this type of fostering and thought this would suit me better as it's more flexible and a set piece of work lasting usually up to 24 weeks. The idea is that I would then take a few weeks off and start again. However, more recently I have returned to long-term fostering as last summer I offered respite to a young man and we hit it off so well that when his current placement had to change, I was happy to say he could stay with me.   

Fostering has been everything I expected it to be and very different to what Jack* and I thought it might be too. It is challenging, it can be hard and it can be heartbreaking too. You have to be able to rise to your very best self at times when you want to give up and walk away.  It’s not an easy job, not for the faint-hearted but I can absolutely say that despite having a career in the past that has taken me all around the world and paid me fantastic money,  it has never given me the job satisfaction the laughs and the joy that I get being a foster carer and doing that with Calon Cymru Fostering.  


*Name changed to protect the identity of the foster carer, children and young people in their care


Fostering stories


  • Parent and Child
  • Foster Carer
  • Long-term fostering

Date published

11 April 2024

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