A retirement spent caring
Connie cares for seven children – she is a single mum and a grandparent.
I became a foster carer in 2012 after a career in childcare and nursing and raising my own four children.
I was over the moon when I was asked to care for three beautiful children of African descent. I had a lot to learn and after some time I realised that things were not as rosy as I first thought. Six months after they came into my care my youngest was diagnosed with autism and global developmental delay.
I was then asked to look after another sibling group of three children, and I couldn’t say no. They came with nits and scabies and covered in sores. I cried when the youngest who was one at the time was in newborn nappies and size 0 clothes – so small but now at seven has turned into a big force with ODD and ADHD.
We have done a lot of work over the years with early interventions and counselling. Seven years on the children are growing into beautiful young people who are respectful and caring.
The last year I have found very hard. My sister died, I lost two beloved pets, and my elderly mum went into a nursing home diagnosed with dementia. Not least of all I had to rebuild half my house as it had dry rot!
I am so grateful that my own adult children have stepped up to help me and to give me so much love, support and respite. I am missing out on my retirement, but I can’t turn my back on the commitment I made in 2012.
* Names have been changed to protect the identity of the people mentioned.