Love for babies keeps foster carer of 14 years motivated
16 December 2019
When you listen to Deborah speaking about her fostering experience, you are under the impression that it is easy. As she puts it, ‘you have to be prepared because it’s not always plain sailing.’
She loves children and enjoys spending time with them. She started out as a childminder and fostering was a natural next step. Her mother did it for a while, and when her children became more independent, Deborah started fostering, too.
‘I spoke to my husband, my children, they all said yes so we applied and became foster carers,’ says Deborah. Three days after her approval she got a baby. ‘Oh, the nerves, the nerves set in. My son was eight then and I had not held a new-born in ages.’ However, she quickly knew what to do and now she is celebrating her 14th year of fostering.
She has cared for babies with Foetal Alcohol Disorder, siblings, children from different cultures and backgrounds, new-borns with challenging parents, but she has managed it all. She is a positive and resourceful person and this has been the key to her success. When a baby’s mother kept complaining about how Deborah cared for her daughter, she did not give up. "The mother stopped writing in the contact book so I did not check it to see if there’s anything new in there. One day I decided to have a look and then I saw she had written ‘Thank you for looking after my baby.’ " This is a memory she will always remember, which taught her that she should never give up.
A few years ago, she looked after a baby and his mother. The baby was living with Deborah and the mother came to see the child four times a week for a year. ‘The mother was Pakistani and she had never mixed with West Indians, black people, before. She came to us with her negativity because of what she was told, but by the time she left, she loved us.’ Regardless of what parents say or do, Deborah offers the same unconditional love to all the babies in her care. For another baby that she had, born to Romanian parents, she fully immersed herself in the culture of the country. She learned simple words in Romanian that she could repeat to the baby, and she went to the local Romanian shop to discover typical food. These little things show how open-minded and inclusive Deborah is.
When we asked her why she fosters babies, she said: ‘I love babies, I love everything about them, their toes, their smile, everything. I could not foster older children. I am a big kid at heart. ’She has looked after 13 children in the last 14 years and has no intention of stopping. The most rewarding thing about fostering is building the foundation for these children to grow and become successful adults. She is still getting messages of gratitude from the relatives of the babies she looked after.
Deborah is the epitome of happiness, positive thinking, and devotion, and a role-model for all the children that she looked after. Together with Sam, Julie, Muriam and Waseem, she is part of our team of foster carers who look after children and young people in Brent.
If you have the time and motivation to start caring for children, come to a fostering information evening to find out more about how you can make a difference.
Visit brent.gov.uk/fostering to learn more about foster care in Brent.