Louise & Mark

from Southport

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Louise Fisher and her husband, Mark, from Southport, have been foster carers with Fostering Solutions since 2014. With Mark’s mum being a foster carer when he was younger and Louise being a teacher in a deprived area of Liverpool they knew they had the skills it took to be great foster carers.

Louise said, “Mark’s mum fostered teenagers leaving care and going into semi-independence when Mark was younger so he grew up around foster children. The looked after children would stay in a flat that was attached to their house and his mum would teach them how to cook and manage money.

“I used to teach young underprivileged girls at a school in Liverpool. When I’d leave them after school it was awful, I’d wonder what they were going home to, I decided I wanted to help and fostering just seemed the right thing to do for us. When I mentioned it to Mark he wasn’t surprised, he was totally on board and with our children being a little older, it was the right time for the family.

“I knew I wanted to foster young parents and their babies, I particularly wanted to help young mums become good parents because of my teaching experience with young girls. I knew it’d be difficult but it seemed the right type of fostering for us and being a mum myself I knew I could pass on my parenting skills. We had two short term placements after we’d been approved and then late last year we were placed with our first young mum and her baby.

“Parent and child fostering is completely different to any other type of fostering as you’re not just caring for the baby, you’re teaching the parent how to care for their baby. Your motherly instinct just tells you to pick the baby up and feed, nurse or change it but you can’t do that. You are there to guide the parent to do it. It brings very different issues you don’t meet with other fostering placement; like how to apply for benefits, how to do a weekly shop, how to manage their money and what baby things to buy.

“With a very young parent, you have to remember that the parent is really still a child themselves. The young mum we have with us was just 16 when she had her baby. She wasn’t used to staying in, putting the baby first, saving money to buy a microwave instead of spending it on herself. These are all things she’s had to learn to do. She’s such a lovely mum and her true motherly instincts have really shown over Christmas. One day she’d been to see her birth family but had promised our daughter she’d watch her in her school concert. She rushed back to make sure she didn’t miss it. She put my daughters make up on before the concert. It was so lovely to see her care so much and be part of the family and keep her promise to my daughter.

“The run up to Christmas was special; we went out shopping and bought presents for my children and her baby. She was so excited, not just for herself but for the baby’s first Christmas too. We’d visited the on-call doctor one night as the baby had a virus and whilst sat in the waiting room she turned to me and said ‘thank you for being here for me, do you think my life would have been different if you’d fostered me when I was 12?’ It’s the little things like that that make you realise why you foster in the first place.

“You have to remember that all these children and young parents need is support and stability, someone to be there to reassure them that everything’s going to be ok. Especially young parents, they just need to know they’re doing it right, like any new parent does.

“To anyone thinking of fostering, it can be intense and busy at times with appointments and meetings but it only takes one small thing to happen to make you realise that it’s all worthwhile and that you’re doing the right thing.

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