Meet our very busy Foster Carer Roger Smith…..
As well as being dedicated to fostering, Roger is centre manager at Angel Place in Bridgwater and coaches several ‘Man vs Fat’ football teams.
He and his wife Mandy have been fostering for 9 years.
We caught up with Roger to ask him why he loves fostering:
What made you decide to become a foster carer?
I was asked this at a recent fostering information event and my response was: “we were always going to foster, I just didn’t know it!”
Mandy’s parents were long term foster carers when she was in her late teens and that sowed a seed that eventually flowered for us too.
We decided that, having six children between us, it was time to give something back to children that were not fortunate enough to have the kind of start to life that all children deserve.
What do you find most rewarding about being foster parents?
It really is fantastic to be able to help children that come into our care, watching as they develop. Sometimes the most rewarding times come after they have moved on to their permanent home, such as a photo of their first day at school or a copy of a school report that shows just how far they have come.
What are the challenges you face?
Any challenges that the children may present are completely understandable given the circumstance that they come into our care with; so we accept those as part of the job. Challenges can involve delays in development or issues with controlling their behaviour within our family boundaries.
There are times when working within the system can be frustrating but that too is part of the process, so it really is a case of maintaining the focus on what is right for the children in our care throughout any difficult times.
Having your own children, how do they find it when a child comes to stay with you?
Whilst some of the hardest things we have had to deal with have involved our children, I truly believe that our children are better people for the experience we’ve had from fostering as a family.
The first Christmas we spent with extra children in our house, my six year old son’s main present was broken within half an hour, simply because the little boy we were fostering didn’t understand that it wasn’t his.
Now, however, we all look forward to children coming into our care and our children play a really active part in the care we provide as a family.
How do you make foster children feel part of the family?
All the children that come into our house are always welcomed as part of the family and share all of our family experiences with us; from birthdays and Christmas to coming on holiday with us. Our whole support network of family and friends also view them as additional family members, so there is never any divide no matter where we are or what we are doing.
Why do you foster with SCC’s ‘Fostering in Somerset’?
‘Fostering in Somerset’ at SCC is the predominant care provider within the county and as such was the first organisation we approached. Whilst there are other private companies out there, we feel that we can make the most beneficial impact on children’s lives by fostering directly with our local authority.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking of becoming a foster parent?
If you have the space, love and opportunity to provide a safe, secure and loving environment for children that may need it, you will play an integral part in their lives. Plus, you will enrich your own lives and that of your own family in the process.
If you’re considering fostering give the fostering team a call on 0800 587 9900.
If fostering’s not for you, you can still help to promote the need for good foster carers for children in Somerset.
Somerset Children are ‘all our children’ – let’s give them a brighter future!