Things have come full circle for Rosemarie Schuere. Almost nine years ago, she was reading her copy of Around Ealing magazine when she was hooked by an article on fostering. It changed her life. And, consequently, children’s lives too.
Now, she is appearing in the summer edition of the magazine herself and hoping to inspire someone in the same way she was.
“I had worked with children before but I was looking in Around Ealing and there was a lady called Maxine talking about fostering and I thought ‘I could do that’,” said Rosemarie. “I made a call to Ealing Council and that was the beginning of the story.”
Since then, once she went through the approval process to become a foster carer, Rosemarie has cared for children of all ages, from two-day-old babies to teenagers. Rosemarie even provided long-term foster care for a seven-year-old up until they turned 16. She has also had several children at a time, when she became more experienced.
‘Fostering is a life changer’
“Fostering is a life changer – everything becomes about that child,” Rosemarie said. “It is very rewarding. You have to have a sense of humour, empathy, patience and, although it sounds obvious, to actually like children. But they become part of your family.
‘It is so rewarding, seeing these children blossom’
“I always say the same thing to each one at the beginning: ‘I’m going to look after you, care for you, and keep your safe’; and to the little ones who are due to go on to adoption, I add ‘until we find you a forever mummy or daddy’. You watch their development and it is always difficult to say goodbye to them when the time comes. The first one is so hard, but you become more prepared for it.
“Like anything in life there are times in fostering when things are fantastic and times when they are not, but I can honestly say I love what I do. And I would say to anyone who is interested to go ahead and do it. It is so rewarding, seeing these children blossom when you give them some safety and security. You are giving them a chance in life.
“Sometimes, in my experience, the children have had traumatic pasts and you have to provide a warm environment and not be judgemental; integrate them and treat them like they’re your own child.
“Some are so withdrawn and never talk at the start. Yet to see them blossom, see they are now talking, becoming more confident and improving at school, is so fulfilling. This is our reward.
“The support from the council is very good. You can have as much training as you want and there are support groups, too. At the support groups you are not just taking away knowledge, you are also meeting other carers and learning from each other.”
A sense of family is so important to Rosemarie, who also has a daughter, and a newborn grandson, of her own. She said: “I would hope my children would be treated the same if they were in the same circumstances. That’s what guides me.
“Fostering is a family affair. It is important to know everyone is on board because you need that support, emotionally.”
Rosemarie and her family are still in touch with most of the children who they have fostered. And one in particular: “One of the babies, who I still call ‘our little girl’,” said Rosemarie. “Her family bring her back to come and see us, which is lovely. I feel so proud of all of the children.”
Be the difference
Could you be the one to follow in Rosemarie’s footsteps? Interested in finding out more about becoming a foster carer? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call freephone 0800 731 6550.