Home of Ealing Council’s magazine for residents

Close this search box.

The unsung foster heroes

It is well-documented that foster carers do an amazing job, but what about the children who also share their home – and their parents’ love and attention – with a foster child?

Birth children of foster carers can be heroes, too: welcoming the new arrivals with the same level of warmth and empathy as the main carer does.

We spoke to some these young people about what it’s like to be part of a foster family.

‘I’m really proud of my mum’

Anwar, 15, lives at home with his mum Tracey, his 14-year-old cousin and 15-year-old foster sister Sasha, who came to live with them more than 3 years ago. The family has had a handful of young people stay with them over the years, but Sasha is the longest-term placement and hopes to remain there until she is an adult.

Anwar, 15, in his living room
Anwar’s mum Tracey is an Ealing foster carer

Anwar said: “The best part of being part of a foster family is the activities, we go bowling and ice-skating together and have games nights, I like that. “It’s about helping children who have gone through a rough patch in their life helping them to see the good in life. I’m really proud of my mum and what she does, she changes lives for the better.”

Tracey was named Ealing’s Foster Carer of the Year at an annual award ceremony in November, following a nomination by Anwar’s foster sister. Anwar, who enjoys playing sport and video games, said he has learnt to adapt to the changes in family dynamics as he has grown older, but that saying goodbye to children can still be hard.

He said: “It can be upsetting when they go because you’ve built a bond and a connection, but we still see and speak to some of our previous placements and saw some of them at Christmas time. “It makes me happy when you see a child growing and developing – going from being quite angry to knowing and making the right choices.”

‘It’s nice to be an older sister’

Sisters Connie and Vivian welcomed younger foster brother Matthew, 7, to their family in April last year. They have had other children previously come and stay but for much shorter amounts of time.

Connie, 13, said: “I always wanted a brother, and Matthew’s really funny, makes interesting noises and says the funniest things.”

Vivian, 10, added: “It’s nice to be an older sister for a change, and not the youngest in the house.”
But, as the sisters explained, it can take time for everyone to adjust. Connie said: “You have to have some understanding about what the children might have been through, and that can have an impact on their behaviour.”

According to the girls, Matthew loves colouring, football and playing with Playmobile. They said when he first came to live with them, they noticed that he played quite aggressively with action figures but, over time, has become much calmer in his imaginative play. They enjoy spending time playing with him.

Vivian said: “It can sometimes be hard to share the attention, but the younger ones sometimes need more support, they can often be behind on their schoolwork for example. Matthew’s just part of the family now and we feel protective towards him, the experience has brought us closer together as a family.”

Connie added: “It can be a bit strange hearing other children calling our parents mum and dad, but you get used to it. My parents are great, they always make sure we have what we need.”

The girls added that being made to feel that they have been part of the decision-making when a child comes to live with them has helped to make their experience a positive one, and they have family meetings where they can talk about how they are feeling.

*Names changed to protect their identity.

Becoming a foster carer

Councillor Kamaljit Nagpal, Ealing Council’s cabinet member for a fairer start, said: “The level of compassion and understanding shown by our foster carers and their families never fails to impress and inspire me. Fostering is not an easy job but it’s lifechanging, and so rewarding. If you’re thinking about fostering but not sure how to approach it with your family, there is lots of help and support available.”

For more information, contact Foster with about Ealing on freephone 0800 731 6550, email fosteradopt@ealing.gov.uk or visit the website.

Share with

You may also like

Editor's Pick

Get your phones and cameras at the ready, because we are launching our next seasonal photo competition next week – with the winner again …


Subscribe to our newsletter

It is simple to register to receive fortnightly email updates from Around Ealing Extra

Translate »