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“Our lives are full of cherished memories and accomplishments”

In the words of Blackpool foster carers, Dawn and Peter, watching children “thrive and live their li...

In the words of Blackpool foster carers, Dawn and Peter, watching children “thrive and live their lives in a safe and happy environment,” is immensely fulfilling.

Knowing that they are making a difference is what continues to motivate Dawn and Peter. We catch up with them to find out more about their journey that started in Tesco over 13 years ago!

What made you both decide to become foster carers?

Peter: “Our kids had both left home and our house felt empty. We had a lot of time on our hands, and we’d seen a leaflet in Tesco about fostering with Blackpool Council that got us thinking. After an initial conversation, and with our kids giving us their support, we made enquiries. That was 13 years ago now!”

How did you find life adapting to accommodate foster children?

Dawn: “We didn’t really find it that difficult to adapt. We knew we had to make the changes and be positive role models, which means having good communication and listening skills, and being non-judgemental.

“Even though our children didn’t live with us any longer, we knew that adding to our family would still affect our usual way of life. However, the fostering process and training that we received really helped us understand why we had to make the changes necessary.

“I think, as a foster carer, you always have to keep making changes to be able to care for different children and their individual needs.”

How have your biological children responded to you being foster carers?

Dawn: “We’re lucky to have two adult children and plenty of grandchildren! We brought the grandchildren up to understand all about the children and foster caring and they’ve formed really nice friendships.

“The fostering experience can be emotional for our children and grandchildren though. They’ve had to learn to understand what it’s like when you’ve got to say goodbye to the children that have been with us – that’s never easy! However, they’re all really supportive and happy for us to do what we enjoy doing!”

Peter: “Our children are very much involved even though they have families of their own. They keep in touch with how the children are getting on.”

What would you say is the most rewarding part of being foster carers?

Dawn: “Opening your heart and your home to all the children that join us and seeing the positive attachments that they make through us nurturing and guiding them.

Watching them thrive and live their lives in a safe and happy environment, knowing that they are loved and respected, is immensely fulfilling. They reward us by being part of our lives as well as they’ve taught us so much. We make a difference, and they make a difference to us too.”

What would you say to someone thinking about fostering?

Peter: “Fostering is not without its challenges, but it’s the most rewarding and fulfilling experience, and no two days are the same. I’d say that it stretches your abilities and makes you a much better person!

“Fostering wouldn’t suit everyone as it’s a 24/7 all-year-round dedicated vocation. There are lifestyle changes, rules and responsibilities. You go through a rollercoaster of emotions. It’s never boring! Our lives are full of cherished memories and accomplishments, though.”

Peter: “Never be afraid to ask for support or say no. Know your limits, have a good sense of humour and a good support network.”

Dawn: “Enjoy it!”