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18 years and counting

"I think we’ve done something worthwhile and have been able to give back to our community.” Meet foster carers Mary and Billy as they share their fostering story.

April 9 2024 - 4 min read

Mary and Billy have been fostering with FCA Scotland for over 18 years now. They are now sharing their fostering story with us.

Billy and Mary have built lifelong connections with the children they have fostered over the years. Although they are all independent adults now, the couple still stays in touch with most of them.

When they first began their fostering journey, Billy was ready for a career change after working in the leisure industry for a number of years and decided to take up fostering full-time. He was the main carer for the first 10 years while Mary continued to work full time in housing but supported Billy in the mornings, evenings and at weekends.

Billy wants people to understand that men can make brilliant foster carers, too.

He said that fostering doesn’t mean only giving a child a roof, there’s a lot more to it. He shared how to manage expectations and work towards a successful outcome, saying: “You’re not going to get a ‘perfect’ child. It’s a challenging job, but it’s a very rewarding one.”

It is important, as Billy explained, to look at the situation from the foster child’s perspective. He said: “Your foster children may not be well equipped to receive the love and care you are giving them and so it’s very important to be patient and be able to support them in the right way.”

Billy, the main carer in the family at the time, said: “I decided that it was a good career choice for me. I felt that we could really help the children and make a difference in their lives.”

He wants more men to consider fostering as a career and shared some practical advice to get started, he said: “Get all the relevant information about fostering, ensure you have done your research, speak to people about it, and get as much support as you can.”

Currently, the couple cares for a fifteen year old girl who has lived with them for nine years along with her two siblings who have since moved out of their care, become “well-rounded adults”, and even started their own families.

They have kept an open channel of communication with them and said: “If anything happens, you can always come and speak to us and we will deal with it together.”

Alongside her, Billy and Mary also welcome short-term fostering which can be extra challenging but given their experience, the couple are happy to take them in and give them a safe space.

Billy and Mary were well-settled in their lives but always felt like they needed something more out of it. Mary said: “We were both working full-time and had a good life but we always felt that there was something we could offer.”

The couple both had children from other partners but didn’t have the chance to bring up a family together. Mary said: “We thought we could be a good parenting team.”

They saw an advert for fostering with FCA Scotland and decided to have a look into it since their own children were all grown up and had left home.

Billy and Mary’s fostering journey has been a long and successful one but not without its challenges. FCA Scotland provides consistent support, guidance, training and development to all their foster carers, to help manage those challenges and ensure they deliver nothing but the highest quality of care.

Mary fondly talks about one of their foster children who lived with them for eight years before moving out, she said: “As a foster carer, you build a long-lasting relationship with the child. We are still in contact with him after all these years and we are always there to support him when he needs it. He remains a member of our family and comes along for Christmas Day and family events.

“We helped these children build up their self-esteem and fit into the world, a journey which was made easier by the support of our social workers, therapists, and the team at FCA Scotland. We would highly recommend them as a fostering agency.”

Billy said: “I’m proud of the work we’ve done since the beginning of our fostering journey, it's a very rewarding job and we've seen the rewards. I think we’ve done something worthwhile and have been able to give back to our community.”

foster carer and foster child

Thinking about starting your fostering journey?

24/7 local support, excellent ongoing training and competitive allowances are just a few of the reasons why you should choose FCA Scotland for your fostering journey.


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