Over the last few weeks, we’ve been running an appeal to encourage more people to find out about fostering opportunities in Argyll and Bute.
Bruce and Sheila Johnston from Mid Argyll are a wonderful example of the rewards fostering can bring. The couple started fostering in 2012 before going on to adopt the little girl in their care just four years later.
Sheila said: “We assumed that we might be too old to adopt but on discussing the matter with good friends who are both adoptive parents and foster carers, we were encouraged to approach social work which then started the process.
“We fostered our daughter for four years before the adoption was formally approved and then we were deregistered as foster carers. After a year we decided that actually, with the experience and insight that we had gained in fostering, both in terms of the processes and procedures and, more importantly in terms of the caring, nurturing and the fun we had had, that we would like to apply for approval again but this time for short terms fostering.”
The couple said their daughter was key in making this decision.
“She was very keen or us to foster as she has some memories of her background in foster care and wanted to help other children. She has also expressed the wish to have a younger sibling. As that is not going to happen the fostering avenue seemed to tick a number of boxes for us,” Sheila said.
The couple became foster carers again in late 2017.
Sheila said: “The pleasure from seeing the children learn to trust us, relax, settle and thrive is extremely rewarding.
“In one case we saw a baby, who was used to comforting himself, grow to a healthy size and start showing a healthy demand for attention and delighting in interacting with people. In another we saw a very anxious young boy find his smile and start to respond to routines and boundaries, enabling him to enjoy healthy relationships with other children and grown-ups.
“Our daughter really enjoys us fostering and is a very nurturing and kind child. She has welcomed the children we have cared for and been very generous and patient in sharing her toys, her parents and her life with them.
“The downside for her is when they move away, so we prepare carefully for that and try to continue some communication after the move so that she can see how her friend/foster sibling is progressing.”
It’s clear from talking to Bruce and Sheila that their fostering experience has been very rewarding.
“We’ve been on a wonderful fostering journey. The children really touch a place in your heart and it’s a great feeling knowing that you’re making a positive difference to their lives.”
If you would like to find out more about the fostering opportunities available in Argyll and Bute, visit: https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/social-care-and-health/fostering