Stella’s story – I’ve cared for over 60 children
“I’ve been fostering for nearly 18 years and it was something I always wanted to do. When we were looking to buy our first property we got one with an extra bedroom because I knew I wanted to care for children. Back home, my mum was a nursery teacher and I grew up with three other children in the house. When I was younger, I thought they were my mums too but when I grew up I found out that they were children from other families my mum had been looking after them.
“I always say, fostering is not just a young person or a child coming into your home and you providing a roof and a safe environment. It’s love. Especially with teenagers, they need someone to love them. You showing them this tiny bit of love will help a teenager go a long way. The best thing about fostering is seeing the child thrive in their own way, not comparing them to anyone else. To see them out there being independent and coping with life, I can’t describe what that’s like.
“You have to take every day as a new day and forget about what has happened the other day. The joy is the progression of the child. I’ve cared for unaccompanied minors and when they arrive they can’t speak English. When they first get here I’ll buy a good dictionary and use the internet to interpret what we’re saying. After a while I’ll hear them calling ‘Auntie, Auntie I’m going out!’ I cannot explain the feeling to hear that! I also bought things to make them feel at home, especially food. My grandma used to say, ‘Food is the heart of the child!’ Also, being in the kitchen together brought us closer.
“If you woke me up in the middle of the night and asked me about the children I’ve cared for, over sixty children, I can tell you each ones date of birth and why they came to me. I can tell you that, but ask me what I had for breakfast and I can’t remember! That’s how they are to me. I always want to know what they are doing and how they are, even after they leave me.
“This Christmas we had over 20 of our children at our house. This time they came back with their partners and their children. Seeing them now and remembering them how they were- that’s the real reward for foster carers.”
Page last updated: 09 March 2018