October is Son's and Daughter's Month. The Fostering Network’s annual campaign to celebrate the vital contribution that the children of foster carers make to foster care.
So we were bursting with pride this week when it was announced that a daughter of one of our Brighton & Hove foster families had won an Outstanding Contribution by Sons and Daughters Award at The Fostering Network's Fostering Excellence Awards. The award was presented to Nia at a formal ceremony by Jacqueline Wilson, author of the Tracy Beaker series.
These awards are the UK’s most prestigious foster care awards, celebrating outstanding achievements in fostering and recognising those who make exceptional contributions to foster care every day.
Nia was 15 when her parents started fostering. As an only child she had not experienced love for a sibling and admits “I thought I would have to adjust more than I actually had to.”
However she soon realised that fostering fit naturally into her household and now can’t imagine life without her foster sister. “I didn’t expect to be as close to her as I am. I do love her."
Dad, Simon said “we were very used to being a family of three so I did have concerns about how bringing a fourth person into the household was going to work. As it happened it turned out pretty well and in fact Nia was our secret weapon."
Many people feel that the potential impact on their birth children is a major barrier to becoming a foster carer, but seeing life from another’s perspective can be an enriching experience, helping children to learn and develop as individuals.
Mum, Terri believes fostering can be really good for sons and daughters; “it can help give an insight into situations and families that they wouldn’t have come across before. It can help them become more passionate, help them become a more rounded person. Generally benefiting them as a person and it also helps the whole family to come closer together."
Nia is now at university and admits she finds it hard to be away from her family. However she has kept communication going with regular contact, using Facetime calls to read bedtime stories and introduce her friends. She is keen to make sure her foster sister still feels like she is part of Nia’s life.
Nia says she loves being part of a foster family, “watching a child grow up, get over their anxieties and become more confident in who they are.” She says “It’s lovely to see. And it’s lovely to know that I am a part of it”.
On behalf of the Brighton & Hove Fostering Team, well done Nia and a huge thank you for the important role you have played in welcoming a foster child into your family.