Phil Watson and his family have been fostering for Liverpool City Council since 2010. Phil is also a fostering recruitment officer for Liverpool City Council Fostering Service. Here, he writes about his experience of fostering and lockdowns…
I wonder what you’ve missed most in lockdown?
Whatever your situation, I’m sure your life has been limited over the last year. Perhaps you’re missing loved ones, friends, being outside, or are just frustrated at being denied the chance to do what you want, when you want.
However difficult your situation, I trust you have some hope that life will improve.
My family became Foster Carers for Liverpool City Council in 2010.
One of the first children we cared for was four years old.
On his second day with us he dutifully held my hand as we headed off to the local park.
He had very limited language.
As we walked across the grass, he stopped and pointed and muttered something barely audible.
I looked to see what had caught his attention.
It soon became clear he was pointing at a tree.
That little boy spent the next 20 minutes stroking the bark, marvelling at the leaves and staring up at its enormous height.
It was fairly evident that he’d never seen a tree before and certainly never touched one.
We spent many wonderful hours exploring that park.
We worked out, purely by observation, that he’d never experienced the wonder of television, knew nothing of swimming pools, cinemas, shops, ball pools, or bath time.
Over the 15 months he lived with us, we also showed him a world where there was always enough to eat, you’d always be warm, and where people would not hurt you.
I guess that child had lived in a permanent ‘lockdown’, which ended when he came to live with us. I know my family made a difference to his life.
My wife and I and our teenage birth children have fostered seven children in total. One lad came for just four hours, and one lad came for a day and is still with us six years later. He has become one of the family.
Is it difficult? Yes. But the rewards outweigh the problems and its value is unquantifiable. I’ve never run a marathon, climbed Kilimanjaro or run a FTSE company. However, I have convinced a kid that 3am is a bad time to play tennis and that not all grown ups are dangerous.