Jacqueline’s Fostering Story14 May, 2018
“My goal was always to make a difference to just one child’s life”
Jacqueline shares how her dream of changing just one young person’s life, has led her to fostering more than 12 teenagers.
Jacqueline joined the ISP family back in 2008, after her own son had grown up and moved away. Then, in her fifties, she found herself with the space and desire to raise another child, while contributing something truly meaningful to society.
Since starting her career in fostering, Jacqueline has looked after 12 teenagers, as well as providing respite and emergency care for many other young people. Every child came into her home with their own story, from victims of abuse and neglect, to those who endured harrowing journeys to seek refuge in the UK.
Determined to change their outlook on life, Jacqueline strived to provide them with the love and support they deserved, but were all too often deprived of. She commented, “what’s more rewarding than helping a young person to develop, with the right care, support and sensitive handling of their past trauma.
“My goal was always to make a difference to just one child’s life, so the damage experienced in their childhood would not be repeated with their own children – thereby breaking the cycle of abuse and neglect.”
As a single carer, Jacqueline fully expected it to test her strength and resilience, she said, “but that’s how we grow. I made sure I had the support of my close friends and family. We all understood things would be different and I would no longer be so free with my time and energy. But I didn’t want something that was easy and inconsequential. This was going to become an integral part of me, my home and life”.
Talking about her favourite memory as a Foster Carer, Jacqueline reminisced about a time when she was arranging a holiday to Turkey with two of her fostered teenagers. She said, “I helped them to save up and we booked the flights and accommodation together. It really made our bond grow as a family.
“The day before we left for holidays, we were sat at the kitchen table, when one of them shared a painful memory about their birth parents. I was hit by a wave of emotion and just had to tell them how great they were. We all became a bit teary but I felt it was something they needed to hear, after having their self-esteem so damaged throughout early childhood.”
She continued, “I’m so proud to say I’m a Foster Carer. People react with such positivity, even admiration. They recognise the good I am doing to children who haven’t been given the best start in life.
“I am also proud in a personal way, as I know I have helped many young people to find their way in the world and go on to live a better life than they would have without the care and support I’ve given, and continue to give.
“In caring for children who are not your own, of all nationalities and religions, I believe you are in fact caring about the world. We help children to believe in good again.”
It’s estimated that fostering services need to recruit a further 5,900 foster families in the next 12 months in the UK. If you’d like to learn more about the role of a foster carer, then please get in touch with our friendly team – we’d love to hear from you.
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