real stories, real lives: meet foster carer shary

“The young person we foster, has now been a part of our family for almost three years and we can’t imagine life without him.”

Before joining Kibble’s Intensive Fostering Service (IFS) as a full-time foster carer, I was in social work for almost 20 years. I always felt that the best part of my job as a social worker, was seeing the positive difference that the act of giving a new home to one person can have on an individual.
Because of this, I always knew I wanted to be a foster carer – it was just about getting the timing right. So, when my son and daughter both moved out of our family home, my husband and I decided that there was no better time than the present.

My experience in social work prepared me well for what was to come in many ways. Firstly, I knew that I wanted to go through Kibble’s IFS, as my experience of them throughout my years in the sector, had always been great and had been recommended by people that I worked with. I heard that their training and support was some of the best. Secondly, I knew that Kibble worked with young people who have more complex needs due to facing adversity throughout their lives, and this is something I also came across as a social worker. I knew I had the correct skill set to help a young person, but most of all, I knew I had the passion.

Passion for working with young people and a drive to give them a chance in life is the main thing Kibble look for in their foster carers. The Kibble IFS team were very hands on during the training – they took us through every possible situation and were always there to offer support with any problems or questions, no matter how small.

The young person we foster, has now been a part of our family for almost three years and we can’t imagine life without him. Our relationship has gone from strength-to-strength, and although some things may seem unimportant or insignificant to others, the smallest things can show the biggest amount of progress in our relationship, as well as in his mental and emotional wellbeing.
When he first joined us, the young person had a long fringe that covered most of his face. It was a protective measure for him, and he was set on keeping it long – only ever getting it trimmed when at the barbers – so it was a monumental moment for us when he asked for it to be cut short. It might seem like just a haircut, but for our family, this was a huge step forward – he no longer had to ‘hide’ behind his fringe.

Another significant day for us was the first time I heard him singing in the shower. Again, this might seem small, but I thought about how comfortable and happy you must be to sing away to yourself and it was an incredible feeling.
Lockdown has been quite a nice time for us as a family – we are all just enjoying this time together. Going back to normal could be a bit of a test, but for now, we are just embracing it. Of course, there are days when things aren’t as easy, but what family doesn’t have those. As long as we all stick together and support each other, we know that we can get through anything.

My son and daughter have been a big part of this journey and have been really supportive along the way. They have formed a close bond with the young boy, and he is completely part of our family.

I always knew that I wanted to be a foster carer someday and have a positive impact on a young person who needs a safe and loving home, what I didn’t know was how much of a positive impact that young person would have on me.