Tom and I had thought about fostering for a while, then when Coronavirus hit we were so moved by how people in Middlesbrough were pulling together to help each other we thought it was time we did our bit.
I work in customer services in a local call centre, while I really liked my job when things changed and I started to work from home I felt there was something missing. In such a scary, strange situation we realized how lucky we were to feel safe and comfortable at home. I couldn’t stop thinking about those children who were at home because their schools were closed who might be scared or feeling unloved and didn’t know what it was like to feel secure and really cared for.
Tom had a difficult childhood and always says that without his Nana, life could have taken a bad turn for him. Over the last couple of years he has talked about one day wanting to help a Middlesbrough child – like his Nana helped him. Coronavirus has showed us how lucky we are now so why wait for a ‘one day?’
We thought we might be a bit young to be foster carers (we are in our mid-twenties) but we have met a lot of carers our age fostering for the council who have given us so much support.
We don’t have our own children yet, so the training we have received has been brilliant and after successfully going through the fostering panel, our first child is now staying with us! Charlie arrived really early on a Sunday morning after things had come to a head with his Dad at home. As soon as he walked through the door I knew we had done the right thing. Charlie had only a worried face and a carrier bag with a few bits of clothes including a school uniform which had seen better days and that’s it.
Apparently people are wary about fostering teenagers (Charlie is 14), but our experience so far has been so rewarding. First thing I did was get Charlie a new uniform and a proper bag for his stuff and Tom has joined Charlie in his gym.
I don’t think Charlie really trusts us just yet, we think that will take some time, but I can tell he feels safe in his room and in our home. I am surprised how much time he wants to spend with us. I don’t think he has had that much attention at home in the past and he said the old sofa he slept on wasn’t very comfy so he is enjoying having a warm, comfy bed and his own space.
The little things we take for granted are making a massive difference to Charlie’s life and I think he now has more hope for his future. At least there’s something good coming out of this virus – for Charlie and for me and Tom!!
If you could make a real difference like Kerry and Tom, our team would love to chat to you. Pick up the phone on 01642 201962 or if you are ready to get things moving, grab a cuppa and start your application here