Real Lives: For Anita Stott fostering has been a wonderful experience

1. anita and evie

Anita and Evie, one of the youngsters she's fostered 

Anita Stott says providing short-term foster care for children with learning disabilities is a fulfilling and heartwarming

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10th August 2017 by TFN Guest 0 Comments

I offer short term foster care for children with learning disabilities. Giving them a week’s break during the holidays can help their family and allows the children to try different, fun activities.

How did I get into fostering? I saw a double page advert in my local newspaper from Quarriers which said they were looking for foster carers for children with disabilities. I had never considered fostering previously but I’d worked with children a lot during my career as a nurse.

I think the best thing about it is that it gives the children an opportunity to do things that they wouldn’t normally do, and it gets them involved in various activities like horse riding and carriage driving at Chariots of Fire. I also take them to adventure parks, or we visit Mabie Farm Park, go on trips to the coast and even down to the Lake District.

I know fostering can seem a bit daunting, but the training covers all aspects of foster care, as well as answering any questions you might want to ask

I couldn’t name any drawbacks to being a foster carer, though there are a few challenges. Some of the children’s behaviour can be challenging just because of the nature of their conditions, for example children with severe autism. If you’re out in public it can be hard for some of the children to cope with the unfamiliar environment or being with so many other people.

However, the training definitely teaches you how to deal with these challenges. You get lots of training depending on the child you are fostering and are always informed about each child’s individual needs, as they’re all unique.

I know fostering can seem a bit daunting, but you get lots of support and the chance to ask questions, and you’ve spokent to other foster carers, it puts you more at ease and much more confident about your abilities.

I’ve had lots of heart-warming moments during my time as a foster carer, but one that comes to mind is about one of the youngsters I looked after who was quite shy and found it hard to socialise.

We were at a singing event, and young people could get up on stage and perform. This youngster got up on stage and became a totally different person, just singing up there and performing with other people. Since then they’ve gone on to do more singing when they go to various youth groups so I thought that was a really good achievement.

Lots of moments make the experience worthwhile, like seeing the expressions on the youngsters’ faces when they’re interacting with the horses at Chariots of Fire and start becoming much more outgoing.

I would definitely recommend fostering to other people. It’s giving these young people an opportunity to try new things. Also, from a family’s point of view short-break foster care can enable them to have a wee bit of quality time together knowing their child is being safely looked after and enjoying themselves. Taking care of a child with a disability can be hard and time-consuming, so this service gives the rest of the family some time even to just go out for a meal together.

I’d fully recommend it to people of all ages. The Quarriers staff always do their best to match the carer to an appropriate child to take the carer’s age and physicality into account – obviously it would be really difficult for someone whose  not that fit to look after a child that runs about all the time.

I’ve looked after five young people and I’m just about to meet my sixth soon. You build up a lovely relationship with the youngsters. I’m still in touch with a girl who finished with me when she was 18 – she’s 21 now and we still see each other every week. I’m going with a group to Edinburgh Zoo this week, and I’ve invited along this young lady, who was absolutely delighted as otherwise she wouldn’t be doing an awful lot with her holidays.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my experience as a foster carer, but we need lots more carers. Its a very fulfilling job, so anyone interested should get in touch with Quarriers