THE Fosterer Family; HEARTWARMING TALE TO MARK FOSTER CARE FORTNIGHT THEY'RE THREE GENERATIONS OF KIND CARERS

The People (London, England), May 25, 2008 | Go to article overview

THE Fosterer Family; HEARTWARMING TALE TO MARK FOSTER CARE FORTNIGHT THEY'RE THREE GENERATIONS OF KIND CARERS


Byline: By JESSICA BOULTON

MEET the amazing family who really do have a caring nature in their genes.

Margaret Murray, 60, and daughter Donna Hamilton, 43, have devoted their lives to being foster mums.

And now Donna's daughters Laura and Kirsty, in their early 20s, plan to open their homes to desperate kids too. In a touching interview to mark today's end to Foster Care Fortnight, the three generations living in Scotland share their inspirational story of fostering through the ages. They speak out as Britain desperately needs 5,000 more foster carers to help look after children in need. On any day 50,000 youngsters are living with 43,000 foster families across UK.

But the numbers of those in need is always growing - fuelling a shortage of foster families.

DAUGHTERS

LAURA, 23, is training to be a social worker and her sister Kirsty, 21, a paediatric nurse. Both regularly provide respite foster care to help out their mum.

Laura says:

'My foster brother unwrapped a bike at Christmas. He'd never had a big family Christmas before and I'll never forget how his face lit up.

When it came to a career, I decided to become a social worker so I could work with children.

I know fostering can be hard work but I've experienced the huge rewards. That's why I help Mum with respite care and am making plans to follow in her and Gran's footsteps.'

Kirsty says:

'Home was always a madhouse and that was fabulous when we were growing up. Every time I visited my Nan, she used to have different children there, so of course it was fun.

Seeing all these children who needed help definitely influenced me. So much so I'm now training to be a paediatric nurse. I feel strongly that every child deserves to be part of a family and that's why I'm adamant that I want to foster as well.'

MOTHER

DONNA was so proud of her mum Margaret, she wanted to follow in her footsteps. After having her children Laura and Kirsty, she and metal worker husband Sid, 48, took the plunge.

'I was six when Mum started fostering. I loved having children around and used to help Mum with the babies. It was great to witness the special moments, like their first steps, first words, over and over.

People often ask whether I felt resentful, but I didn't. Mum treated us all the same.

As the years went by and I had my own children, it was always in my mind to foster. Eventually, my husband Sid and I decided we'd do longer-term placements - what they call permanency.

Our first was a boy of seven with spina bifida who was very shy. There were a lot of hospital appointments and it was hard work but he finally came out of his shell.

He's taking his exams now and we're taking him to Canada next month for his 18th birthday. Seeing him achieve so much makes every second worthwhile.

Our second child is a deaf girl, who's just seven. At first she was a very difficult, angry child, yet the other day she was invited to a party. …

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