The journey of a lone Male carer
I’ve been a part of a fostering family for around 15 years, but for just over a year now I have been a foster carer myself. A lone male carer, which is something I'm proud to say I've done. I’ve always wanted to have a go at being the lead carer and this year I've had my chance. My motive for being a foster carer was partly due to watching my parents and aunt and uncle foster lots of challenging young people over the years, but I knew I would never really get the full experience unless I braved it in my own home.
I've worked with young people in my day job at a youth & Community Center where I'm the Community Center Manager. I've loved leading youth clubs, football sessions, being a mentor and taking the youngsters out on trips, but I just knew I wanted to take the leap and be a foster carer myself.
I spoke to my family and friends about being a foster carer and although they were all very supportive and wished me luck, they all kept asking me if they thought I would be ok doing it by myself. I convinced them I would be fine, I wanted the challenge of supporting youngsters on their journey into adulthood and to help them develop into productive adult members of society. Knowing my family were all so familiar with fostering I knew I would have a great support network, which gave me confidence in being able to become a carer. Also, when applying and all the way through until now I've had a great Foster Care Development Worker Mike Harrison, who’s been great in helping me develop and support the young people in my care, so there's nothing to worry about for prospective carers on that front.
This last year has been a whirlwind and full of great experiences. If I'm honest I was so nervous when my first placement arrived, but it’s been so enjoyable and thoroughly rewarding. I now have 2 young people living with me that are both new to the UK. They are both from a Kurdish background and not related.
Both of my young people are now studying ESOL at a local College, they have their exams coming up, so I'm hopeful they get moved up onto the next level next year. They have quickly had to adapt to British culture and learn how things work here. They've had to get to grips with the language so quickly, we practice English all the time, the world is like their classroom. I try to encourage them to be inquisitive, but encourage them to follow their interests as well. My 17 year old placement expressed an interest in barbering, so I managed to find him a local barber shop to volunteer in. After 6 months he has now completed some of his first full haircuts. He was so proud when he finished cutting my hair, I was so proud of him too. That's why we are carers, because there is no better feeling in being a small part of their success; watching them succeed and follow their passions, it’s great. My younger placement who is 16 years old volunteers in a local bakery; and he thoroughly enjoys it. He hasn't decided what he wants to do with his career just yet, but being in the bakery and playing football with locals has surely helped him integrate and feel a sense of belonging in his new country.
I can’t wait to keep supporting my young people on their journeys into adulthood. It’s been great for me to learn more about another culture and to help teach the young men independence, whilst also learning about Kurdish cuisine. It’s been interesting learning more about Ramadan and also learning about prayer times and events at the local mosque. I look at these occurrences as new experiences and development for me and for the young people. We work together in our own family unit and I look forward to my next year in fostering with my young people for Parallel Parents.
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This was written by one of Parallel Parents Foster careers and the image is a stock image used to illiterate the story.