I live in England with my husband Jonathan. We met at a village dance when we were teenagers in the seventies, and shortly afterwards we both moved away from our home town for work. I loved the bright lights of the city, and my demanding job in a bank. We stayed for ten years before returning home to take over the family floristry business from my parents.
One day an advert in the local paper caught my eye: 'Foster Carers Wanted'. I knew straight away it was something I'd love to do. As a child I had a friend whose family took in foster children and I had often asked my mother if we could do the same, but she always said she wasn't cut out for it, and didn't have the patience. After living a fast-paced life I felt I could easily manage to sell flowers and care for youngsters. Having a family was something Jonathan and I planned for the future; surely fostering was just like bringing up your own children, if not easier?
Looking back, I was incredibly naïve. I was convinced fostering kids would be like caring for flowers: if we provided the right environment, nourished the children well and treated them with love and respect, everything would be rosy. We could foster for a few years, and maybe even carry on when we started our own family. Of course, it wasn't like that at all! Each child had a unique set of problems, some incredibly sad, others very shocking. We found ourselves immersed in a care system we knew nothing about, yet soon found impossible to leave.
I thrived on the challenges and rewards of being a foster carer, went on to train as a specialist carer for teenagers with complex needs, and have never looked back. Jonathan and I have fostered more than fifty children over the past twenty-seven years. I hope you will enjoy reading about some of the wonderful children we have been privileged to have in our lives.