I read an interesting article in the paper the other day about some foster carers’ experiences over an extended period of time. They talked about all kinds of things but a question was posed to them that made me reflect on my own story. It was some posed from some friends of theirs who asked them why they fostered. Their answers ranged from the practical (having a spare room, enough time etc) through to admitting to having an emotional strength which leant itself to the work. What was interesting was that they considered that their primary strength came from their own warm, loving and stable parents which had permeated their own outlook and approach. This strength combined with an early recognition that some kids don’t have a good early start steered them into the fostering life.
Their comments were understandable and it was easy to see why they became carers. Thinking about myself and Louise, I could concur that we had similar parenting experiences as the newspaper couple and that we had an empathy with needy kids. Somehow however this did not fully answer why we foster. There is, I think, a deeper reality and voice inside that question. For myself, it somehow is linked to my own feeling of legacy, essentially of having left a mark that I would be proud of on this earth. It is also to do with working out where I fit in my society and where my society fits with me. For instance, I feel like I have a responsibility to all of my country as a concerned citizen and that I hope they do for me as well. Maybe this is a romantic ideal which some of you may be rolling your eyes at but I think that that is at least part of why I foster. It is somehow about making Britain better not only for the future but to break some of the past as well.
I wanted to share this reflection and prompt because I would encourage you to have a look at yourself and why you foster. I have found that as I become more mindful of my posture towards life, it gives me a firmer sense of why and how I do what I do. Maybe you will find that you foster for some of the more practical reasons (money or not being good at much else!). Whatever the reasons are have a think about how that affects you. For me, it has given me resolve in harder times and to have a larger perspective of my own legacy and life work gives me strength. I hope that you inspire and challenge yourself too!