“It is a beautiful feeling when you go to bed at night knowing you are making a difference in a child’s life”
Foster carer Shagufta, 53, based in Edinburgh, shares her fostering journey over the past eight years.
Shagufta and her husband took the decision to begin a new journey within fostering eight years ago in 2012.
Shagufta originally worked in retail and her husband as a taxi driver, and it was within these professions that the desire to foster children began, Shagufta explains; “Due to our work, we constantly witnessed upsetting scenes with children involved. At the end of our day we would talk about what we saw and would discuss the idea of becoming foster carers – eventually we made the move!”
“I did my research on the internet and applied to the local council, a few other companies and Foster Care Associates Scotland (FCAS). FCA Scotland phoned the following day, they arranged for someone to come and see us, and so our journey began”.
Used to growing up within a big family, Shagufta has four siblings of her own. She shares a daughter and a son with her husband, who have both now grown up and left home, and they are also kinship carers to their three grandchildren. Shagufta explains; “At the time of becoming a foster carer, my son was still living at home. He quickly adapted, both of my children were more than happy to share their parents with other children and were very supportive”
Shagufta has taken care of children in respite and fostered five children since becoming a foster carer eight years ago. She is currently taking care of a sibling group in a permanent placement and has enjoyed many happy times within her journey so far. However, throughout her fostering career there have been many challenges; “Each child comes with their own heart-breaking background and their own ways to cope. I have experienced bed wetting, aggressive behaviour, disappearing, shouting, lying etc. It is always important to remember this is the child’s way of making sense of what has happened to them.”
“Balancing meetings, hearings, contact with parents, training etc can be difficult. However, there are many, many positives which make the challenges worthwhile; such as the knowledge that no matter how small...you are making a difference”.
Taking the step towards fostering children from challenging backgrounds is a big decision, but Shagufta explains that she is supported throughout the whole process; “FCA Scotland has a fantastic support package in place for their foster carers. I receive regular training, both in the classroom and online to help me develop. FCA Scotland also offer one to one support via supervision with allocated social workers, team parenting, foster carer appreciation day, support groups and a 24-hour help line”.
A key piece of advice that Shagufta shares is to not be afraid to say you need help; “Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We’re not meant to know it all”. Shagufta explains; “My experience of fostering, as a whole, has been a journey of emotions. There have been moments of disbelief as well as joy, moments of rejections as well as acceptance, moments of tears as well as comfort”.
Shagufta advises anyone considering fostering; “Don’t think. Just put the wheels in motion. My best fostering moment is every morning when I get a hug before they all go to school, a hug before they go to bed and a hug because it’s a hug! It is a beautiful feeling when you go to bed at night knowing you are making a difference in a child’s life.”
Meet foster carers Susan and Brian
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Foster carer Susan urges anyone who wants to take up fostering but hasn’t taken the plunge yet to “just do it".
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Foster carer Linda from North Lanarkshire shares her fostering highlights over the past 18 years, and the support she’s had with FCA Scotland.
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October 24 2022
Meet Denise, a foster carer from Fife who left a career in education to dedicate the last 13 years to providing looked-after children with a happy, caring, and loving home.
“It’s brilliant to know that you are not alone, there are other people there to help you in this journey that you are on with the children.”
October 21 2022
Meet foster carers, Elaine and Iain from North Lanarkshire, who talk about the importance of using FCA Scotland’s wrap-around team of support.
“FCA Scotland has always been very family orientated, there is always someone at the end of the phone”
October 19 2022
Meet Angela, a long-term foster carer who shares her fostering journey, and why she’s fostered with FCA Scotland for over 10 years.
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