Pauline and Julien's Story

"We mainly foster teenagers although in the past we have fostered children as young as eight years old. Both of our long-term foster children arrived at age 12.

“We began fostering when our children were becoming teenagers and we felt that we could share our home and family with other children. Our only daughter was actually the one to point out an information evening being held regarding fostering. Having visited relatives in Canada (Julien’s Mum and Sister) who were fostering at the time, we were able to see first-hand how rewarding the fostering experience could be when we saw the young people thriving in the home and becoming part of the family.

“The benefit of fostering teenagers is that they are usually transitioning to adulthood and therefore more independent. Helping teenagers transition to adulthood by supporting them to acquire the skills needed and helping them prepare for independent living is quite rewarding. It is an opportunity for them to showcase their many varied talents, especially when you see them becoming well-adjusted young people and growing in confidence.

“We are proud to foster as we can be instrumental in helping young people navigate their way in this world. They may have been through difficult experiences, but helping them find a way to cope and being there to support them all the way even after they leave the care system is an honour and a privilege. We see them grow in confidence as they overcome fears and anxieties. We sometimes see them flourish academically as they are able to focus more on their education as they are being more fully supported. We also learn so much from young people who come with their many gifts and talents. We have fostered a number of asylum seekers who share with us their rich heritage and culture and we are able to experience a variety of culture and experiment with their various cuisines also.

“Fostering can be very rewarding. When children and young people come with challenging behaviour because of their past experiences, and we are able to provide a safe and secure environment for them with love and care, they can begin to trust us as adults and gradually we may see changes in behaviour. This is never instant, but eventually we see them develop into well-adjusted young people as they grow in confidence and gain high self-esteem. Some go on to excel academically. It is most rewarding when they leave our homes and continue to maintain a relationship with us and our children and family members. The visits at Christmas, messages on birthdays, Mothers’ Day and Fathers’ Day are greatly cherished. Anyone who can offer a loving home with warmth and has time to spend with young people should consider fostering, as with the challenges come the immeasurable rewards."