‘FOSTERING IS INCREDIBLY REWARDING, IT HAS ENRICHED OUR LIVES’
Carmelah Hulse, 40, is a nurse and has been a foster carer for two years. She lives in Stockport with her husband and their own two children, aged four and eight. My husband and I had considered fostering in the past. Then, one day, everywhere we looked we saw posters about the need for foster carers. It was like a sign.
We decided we had nothing to lose and, if we could help even one child, it would be worth it. We were approved by Stockport Council to foster in July 2018.
We’ve fostered two little girls since then, both of whom have stayed with us for a year and spent Christmas with us.
Both have thrived and reached most of their milestones while in our care, which is lovely to know. This Christmas, we’re going to have siblings for the first time. There’s no book that can explain what it’s like to be a foster parent; it’s a learning process. We’re very lucky that our own children were welcoming and loved having new playmates.
Both the girls we fostered were around two and a half years old at Christmastime, so it was an overwhelming but also exciting time for them both, as they’d never experienced a family Christmas before. We had to show one of them what to do with presents and how to unwrap them. But once she realised, her face lit up with happiness. She loved playing with her new toys.
We made a huge effort to make Christmas as special as it could possibly be for both of them. We took them to events and did fun things. We always start to prepare about a week before, beginning with taking delivery of a big tree from a local charity. We cover it with tinsel and each of the children has a bauble with their name on it to hang.
On Christmas Eve, we put out carrots and mince pies, and always get the children matching Christmas pyjamas to wear. Then, when they come down on Christmas morning, each child has a sack of presents especially for them.
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