VANESSA Truman was just a little girl when she decided she wanted to be a foster carer when she was old enough.
Having grown up with her grandmother and auntie taking in children who had suffered a difficult upbringing, she knew that she would want to help other children in that situation if she could.
The thought stayed with her for a long time, until, three years ago, she and husband Alan decided the time was right to look taking in children who were waiting to be adopted.
“I always knew I wanted to help. I had visions of having a 13-bedroom house with 50 foster kids, but instead I’ve ended up with a normal house and two foster children,” Mrs Truman told The Mail.
Currently, she, her husband and their five-year-old daughter Baylie share their home in Midway with a seven-year-old girl and a five-year-old boy, who are up for adoption after they were neglected by their birth parents.
They have been living with the family since last August. Before that they looked after a little boy, who has now been adopted. The children are not allowed to be named.
Mrs Truman said: “It has been challenging. It’s very different to my initial expectations. I compared it to taking on a friend’s children for the weekend, but you can’t compare it to that at all.
“The behaviour of an insecure child is so different, but there is always training and you always have the support of a social worker. It was probably scarier as a parent because you have to figure it out by yourself then.”
Mrs Truman, 47, said she thought it was ‘the right time’ to become foster parents when they took the plunge. She had decided to give up her job as a pensions administrator to look after her daughter and thought it would be right to invite other children into the home.
The family were able to choose the type of fostering they wanted to become involved in, and chose to go for helping children who were awaiting placement with a new family. It does mean a lot of change for the family, but Mrs Truman said she thought it was the right thing for them.
“I was worried we would take them in, they would love us and we would love them, only for them to be uprooted yet again into another set of circumstances. But if the alternative is being in a care home, where they have not got anywhere near as much time and attention, this means so much more to them.
“It upsets me when they leave, but the pride and pleasure of seeing them move positively far outweighs the heartbreak of seeing them go, and there are always more children,” she added.
Mrs Truman said the most satisfying part of the process so far has been seeing how well the children flourish in a loving home. The little girl staying with them at the moment recently told her how she was ‘always happy’ when she was with her foster parents.
Even Baylie has settled into her role,.
“She calls herself a foster carer,” Mrs Truman added.
WE are currently in the middle of foster care fortnight, a period of time aimed at highlighting the need for foster carers around the UK.
In South Derbyshire and East Staffordshire the amount of children in need of care has been constantly changing, but there are currently around 35 in the area.
Both Derbyshire and Staffordshire County Council are in need of more people to come forward as foster carers, and they are urging people to come forward if they think they could help.
Ian Thomas, director of children’s services at Derbyshire County Council, said: “We have a great team of 430 foster carers but more are always needed.
“Fostering, like parenting, is challenging but highly rewarding work. There are lots of different types of fostering available depending on your circumstances.
“We offer lots of benefits, support and training to all our foster carers as well as competitive financial allowances.
“We are looking for people from all walks of life to come forward and find out if they have what it takes to become a foster carer.”
There are many different types of fostering, from offering long-term placements to providing respite care. Call 0800 083 7744 for more information about fostering.