In the lead up to National Adoption Week, Somerset Council is praising the vital role foster carers play in helping children settle into life with their adopted family.
Many children and babies, while awaiting adoption, will live with a foster carer. Tracy, who has been a foster carer for four years, has been involved with two fostering placements that led to adoption. She spoke about her experience with one of the children who went on to be adopted:
“He came to us two days before Christmas and was with us until the following January, so just over 13 months. Of course, you get attached in that time, but that’s part of it.”
Before the child is introduced to their prospective adoptive parents, foster carers and adopters get to know each other. Tracy explained:
“We were given information about the family who were adopting and met them in a café for an hour… two and a half hours later the social worker left because we all got on really well, it was amazing.
“After that, we started the transition, they made a story book with pictures of the adoptive family and clips of them talking. We could go through the book and press the button and the child could get familiar with the voices and the faces.
“We had video calls to help the child become more familiar, which progressed to the family visiting our house, only for an hour to start with but each time they stayed a bit longer and I gradually let them take over.”
This transition period is crucial for the child’s well-being and ensures a smoother shift from foster care to their permanent adoptive home. Tracy expressed her feelings about passing the responsibility to the adoptive parents:
“It felt incredible, it was so warming, it was like breathing new life into a family. It’s the most humbling thing you can ever do really.”
Once the transition is complete, the child moves in with their adoptive parents full time. For many, this isn’t the end of the relationship. Tracy maintains a close bond with the child she cared for and their adoptive parents:
“They’re like family, I’m only about 10 years older than them but I kind of feel like they’re my sons and the grandchild. It’s incredible, I feel very privileged.”
Cllr Tessa Munt, Somerset Council’s Lead Member for Children, Families and Education has praised the essential work foster carers provide pre-adoption:
“Somerset Council is proud to highlight the invaluable contributions of our amazing, dedicated foster carers who play a pivotal role in helping children transition into their forever homes through the adoption process. These unsung heroes – just like Tracy – provide unwavering support and love to Somerset’s children awaiting adoption, making a lasting impact on their lives.”
Somerset Council is appealing for more people to become our foster carers, including those who can look after children awaiting adoption. To find out how you could change a child’s story, visit fosteringinsomerset.org.uk, or attend the forthcoming Fostering and Adoption Information Session in Taunton on October 12. You are not committing to anything by coming along – but the session provides you with an excellent opportunity to chat to some of our Somerset foster carers and families who have adopted and to ask all the questions you might have about joining this important team who make a real difference to our children’s lives.
For more information about the event, visit Eventbrite’s Fostering and Adoption information evening webpage.