John and Paula's story

In their late fifties, John and Paula began caring for a mother and her baby.

In April 2013 we had the opportunity to take a month of holiday to consider where God was leading us. We had decided to take early retirement and possibly commit to short-term mission. On our return to the UK it became clear that we should remain here and we began to think about fostering. We had become aware of the great need for foster carers and adoptive parents and the thousands of children who need a loving and secure home.

At first we thought that we would not be accepted by fostering agencies as we were in our late fifties but we attended a Home for Good seminar and talked to others who were fostering who recommended we investigate further. We did this and so began this present adventure.

Having contacted the fostering agency, we were visited weekly for about three months by an assessing social worker and we also took part in a three-day 'Journey to Foster' course. In September we were ready to be interviewed by a panel of independent social workers, foster carers and care leavers.

To our surprise, after being approved by the panel, we were asked if we would consider taking a mother and a five-month-old baby into our home as soon as possible, before we had even left the building. The mother and baby had been in hospital for the last five months due to the baby’s complex health needs. Both my husband and I had had experience of looking after sick children, so it seemed perfect timing and an excellent match.

When they came to live with us, it also became apparent that the mother had severe mental health issues. After three weeks she disappeared, leaving the baby with us. We were asked if we were willing to carry on looking after him. He has been part of our family ever since.

He does not have a good prognosis but we try to live a day at a time giving him as much love and affection as we can, and we celebrate each achievement and milestone that he reaches. He is a delight to care for and, at a glance, appears to be a very sociable, chatty, loveable and active toddler. Yes, there are heart-breaking moments when we are aware how much effort normal activity can be for him and we do wonder about the future. But we know that he and we have an amazing Father God who knows the future and has it all in hand.

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