A COUPLE from St Helens have spoken of the emotional journey they went on before decided to foster.
The Rainhill couple were speaking at the launch of a national fostering awareness campaign.
“There was a lot of preparation involved but it was all really useful and helped to prepare us for what lay ahead,” said John, a 46-year-old builder from Rainhill.
John and Debbie became fully-fledged foster carers three years ago. And even though there have been plenty of challenges along the way, they haven’t looked back.
Seven-year-old Jamie is their third foster child. He’s been with them for two years now and it’s unlikely he’ll ever return to his birth mother. In fact he’s likely to be joined fairly soon by his newborn half sister.
“Jamie hasn’t had an easy life,” said Debbie, who plans to give up her part-time job in a local chemist when Jamie’s sister arrives.
“His natural mum has a few mental health problems and is unable to care for him adequately. Jamie was eating crisps for breakfast every day and had a very poor attendance record at school, amongst many other things.”
With little or no stimulation in his life – no playtime, no books, no games - Jamie was left to watch TV all day.
After a spell living with his grandma, who tragically then became ill with cancer - and not well enough to look after him, he was taken into council care.
“It hasn’t been easy for any of us, but becoming foster carers is probably the best thing we’ve ever done,” said John,” and we’ve decided to try and make things as ‘normal’ as possible for Jamie by looking after his half sister as soon as she’s old enough to join us.”
John and Debbie are just two of the one hundred and fifty foster carers providing homes for children in St Helens. More are always needed and the latest campaign to attract new recruits has just been launched.
“I’d recommend it to anyone,” said Debbie.