My family has always been very close. My childhood was incredibly happy and I have many fond memories of Cornish holidays, family meals and bedtime stories. We were a solid unit who fitted into a five seat car and a four-bed house.
In 2010 we went to Le Pas Opton on a Spring Harvest Holiday. We were expecting a gentle week of spending time with God and with each other. We were not expecting to start a journey that radically transformed our lives! Krish Kandiah was speaking and God used him to ignite in my parents a desire to open our arms and extend our family.
I knew very little about fostering when we embarked on the assessment process. I thought I had signed up to have children come every so often and stay for a few nights. We had already been a host family for Nightstop, housing vulnerable teenagers while they were found permanent homes, so I didn’t think that a great deal would change. My parents went through lots of assessments and a year or so later were approved. In 2012 we were asked to take in a little girl of five and I remember asking how long she would stay for. On hearing that it would be upwards of a year I realised that I had slightly misunderstood our commitment.
Our first foster child moved in at the beginning of February 2012 and she was the most adorable, loving, affectionate child I have ever met. We had the absolute privilege of taking her on her first holiday, setting a sixth place at our table and reading her her first bedtime story. After living with us for 14 months, she was adopted.
When she left, we realised that we didn’t want to go back to being that unit of five. We applied to be permanent foster carers and once we had been approved, we started looking at profiles of prospective children. One little boy really stood out. He was eight years old and looking for a permanent home after many complications. After endless enquiries, meetings and paperwork for my parents, we met him for the first time in December 2013.
We celebrated one year with him on January 4 2015 and I can honestly say that I’ve gained a brother. He is a testament to the power of love and commitment and has come so far already. His growing realisation that our love is authentic, that his behaviour cannot affect it, and that he is part of our family makes every challenge worthwhile.
God has used these incredible, beautiful children to teach us so much about the meaning of family and the gift of love. I look forward with anticipation to what else He has in store.