Paul & Maggie

from Cambridge

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As a family, we all get so much from it

Maggie (57) and Paul (60) live in Cambridge and are foster carers with Fostering Solutions. They currently care for three children including a young male cancer survivor. Maggie and Paul initially thought they might have left it too late in life to become foster carers, but soon realised that life experience can be hugely beneficial.

Maggie said: “I was a teaching assistant in a secondary school and special needs school for 20 years. Paul was an electrical engineer. We started in foster care five years ago and initially thought that we might have left it a bit late in life, but we wanted to bring up our own boys first.

“On the day we were approved to foster we were asked to look after a very poorly young man for six months. He’s been with us ever since and is now coming up to his 18th birthday and semi-independence. We’ve seen a remarkable change in him and, even though it’s been a tough journey over the past five years, we’ve managed to get through this, he’s been to college and is now looking at life beyond our home – it’s so exciting. He’s just got himself a traineeship at college too which is great news.

“We also care for two siblings – 15 and 11 year old sisters who will be with us until they are 18. Everything’s going really well and we are like a regular family. Fostering is without doubt the best thing we’ve ever done and we can give children the opportunity to take part in normal family activities that they’ve never done before. Whether that’s seeing the countryside for the first time, going on a ski trip or going into London and having a tour, the outcomes are amazing. Being able to provide these opportunities is so rewarding.

“Training is a big part of being a foster carer for us. We really embrace the training on offer from Fostering Solutions and have been taking part in training sessions nearly every month for the last three years. I’m also involved in the buddy training programme which offers support to new carers who can learn from the experiences of people like us. The support groups are particularly useful and we have the chance to get involved with regularly.

“As far as offering advice to potential carers then I would say don’t let age put you off. It was never a barrier for us, despite us initially thinking it could be. Our life experience means we are very well equipped to deal with everything that foster caring can potentially throw at us. I really do admire those carers who can foster when they have their own children at home, but everyone’s circumstances and needs are different and I’m so glad we did it when we did. As a family, we all get so much from it.”

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