Falak is a foster carer who specialises in parent and baby placements. She has been fostering for over five years and her sisters also foster for the service.
Parent and baby caring is about supporting the parent, giving them advice based on my experience and saying ‘it’s okay to get things wrong and it’s okay to ask for help’. I help them with routines, the basics. But the training, one-to-ones and external groups are available when needed.
My sister was already involved in fostering and I thought it was something I could do. And since being a carer I always try to encourage other people to think about whether they can foster. It’s my career with great rewards. In the beginning it is hard, as the parents don’t want to come to a parent and baby placement; they are being watched, having to accept help – but for me, it’s their chance to shine and prove they can do well.
The best part of fostering for me is the smiles, knowing the children are warm, happy and healthy. It makes me feel good knowing that a vulnerable child is being protected – each case is different, but I try to give each the best time while they are in care.
There are lots of ‘ups and downs’ with fostering, especially when the child moves on - whether it’s babies or teenagers, it’s heartbreaking. You stay professional and you get used to it, but it is always upsetting. All you want is a ‘happy ending for the children’ and it usually is.
After one of my mother and babies moved on and got settled into their own flat, several months later it was a great moment when she and her baby came to visit me by choice. She always thanks me to the help and support I gave her.
Having my very first placement, it was exciting. I felt anxious but then I thought 'if I feel like this, what it must be like for them?' I put myself in her shoes and thought about how she must be feeling.