Thinking about becoming a foster carer? Find out how by reading Emma and Derek’s story

“One of the most memorable moments was when we took her and her older brother out for a day, ice skating and trampolining, something they’d never experienced before. Mia enjoyed doing makeovers with our daughters, singing and dancing, making up concerts in the living room.

Emma, 42, and her husband Derek, 51, have been short break foster carers for Barnardo’s for the past four years.

The couple, who have two daughters who are both in their 20s, have written about their experiences in order to help inspire anyone looking to become foster carers themselves.

Emma said: “Derek and I had spoken about potentially becoming foster carers when our children got older. Our youngest was 13/14 when we started talking about it in more detail. We felt the girls were old enough to be part of the decision making and also have an input.

“Derek and I both worked full time, I had retrained as an adult nurse and Derek is an IT delivery manager. It was important to me that we both continued to work while fostering. We felt strongly we wanted to show a child real life and that very often involves two parents working and juggling home life.

“We have a very strong work ethic and felt it was important to hold on to our values at the same time as supporting a child. We can be a busy family but we’re also very organised and have a very supportive family.”

Working with Barnardo’s

Emma continued: “We started looking at fostering providers online but kept coming back to Barnardo’s. So, in 2016 we made that first call and arranged for an initial visit. We were impressed with Barnardo’s from the word go. They were very honest and told us that the assessment can be lengthy and that the process would bring up lots of feelings. The training we did was very thorough, and we learned a lot. I would say the best part was meeting with other carers, their stories and experiences helped to fill in any gaps in knowledge. They were all open and very supportive.”

After 11 months of training and assessments, the couple

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