At Home with Carol Vorderman 2013 - (Page 218)

| FOSTERCARE| LOUISE GROVES, 37, FROM COLCHESTER, ESSEX, WAS BORN WITHOUT A WOMB BUT ALWAYS HAD A DEEP MATERNAL INSTINCT EVER SINCE HER OWN PAINFUL CHILDHOOD. IN 2004 SHE TURNED TO FOSTERING AND HAD FOSTERED 19 CHILDREN BY THE AGE OF 31 P eople ask if I find it hard fostering on my own as a single woman who likes to go for walks with her dog or out for meals and socialise with friends, but I say it doesn’t matter. It is something I was born to do. I’ve never had a womb, so have known since I was young I wouldn’t be able to have my own birth child. ‘What makes my need to nurture children so embedded within me is also driven by the unexpected deaths of my own family. I was sent into foster care aged 14 after my mother died of a brain haemorrhage and my father, who had been divorced from my mum, committed suicide two years afterwards. ‘I was sent to boarding school to finish my studies but then a further devastating blow came at aged 16, when my brother Patrick also committed suicide. ‘Having experienced amazing foster parents myself, I felt a deep longing and a sense of compassion to help children in care who might be in a similar situation. ‘I married at 18 and, within three years, my husband and I started talking about fostering. Sadly it was around that time our marriage 218 | JUNE 2013 dissolved. I still knew that fostering was something I had to do, but that I’d now have to wait until I was financially and emotionally ready. That happened a few years later, when I was 26. ‘I went online and contacted my local authority fostering CARING recruitment department. I wasn’t EIGHTY PER CENT OF CHILDREN IN a typical foster-parent candidate LOCAL AUTHORITY – a single, young unmarried CARE LIVE WITH woman – but Social Services sent FOSTER FAMILIES. me an information pack, invited THAT IS 59,000! me to an open night and then continued with a home assessment. From there, it was decided I could proceed to the ‘skills to foster’ course – which incidentally I now teach. ‘After a full year I was accepted as a suitable foster parent for newborns up to 18 year olds. I cried when a panel told me I’d been accepted – I just wished my own mum could have been there to see it. ‘I remember feeling intense nerves and also immense love when my first child came into my care. But having been fostered myself, perhaps I also had more insight as to what to expect. I changed my whole house into a place children would love, decorating all the bedrooms so they were child-friendly and buying wardrobes, drawers and quilt covers. I want every child who walks in to feel they deserve the best in life, and nice bedrooms are a big part of that. ‘My friends have been like extended family members and, touchingly, even send welcome cards to the kids who arrive at my door. I bought a welcome gift for my first child, but now I prefer to give the kids something when they leave. I’m into craft and create items relating to our shared treasured memories. ‘I love singing along to the radio with the kids in the car and snacking on pizzas in front of a DVD. My friends and I take the kids bowling, roller skating and to the cinema. ‘That’s not to say that it isn’t a steep upward learning curve. Children come into my care for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes it can be as simple as not having a family member to take care of them if a parent becomes ill or is in hospital. ‘I always try to remember the child is anxious and do my best to be a good listener and make them feel at home. ‘I have never found it hard to love any of the children. I may not have always liked the actions of some of the ones who’ve had difficult upbringings, but that doesn’t mean I love them any less. Ultimately, being a foster parent makes me happy.’ To find out more about becoming a foster carer, contact your local fostering service, call Fosterline on 0800 040 7675, Synergy Fostering on 020 7940 4652 or visit ■ WORDS: Wersha Bharadwa | PHOTOGRAPH: Shutterstock A rewarding role

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of At Home with Carol Vorderman 2013

Editor's letter
Carol's hello
Summer days
Rear of the year
Shades of citrus
Maxi moment
Good for the sole
Razzle dazzle
Swing by the sixties
All shapes and sizes
Steal her look
The swimwear round
A moment with Carol
Beaming with pride
Loose women
Forever friends
What men want
The D word
Fear not
Keep your flirt on
Sex on fire
Culinary classics
Food glorious food
At a pinch
Oiling the meals
Flaming hot
Under the grill
Raise a glass
Water works
Weight-dropping wonders
Tuck in
Home improvements
Holiday hazards
Proceed with caution
Warning signs
Down to the bare bones
Back on track
A sorry sight
20 under £20
How do they do it?
Rewind time
Lacklustre locks?
Pearly brights
Good job hunting
Old timers
The golden years
Cash in a flash
Money guru
Foster the love
Child's play
Easy as 1, 2, 3?
Summertime accessories
Those in glass houses
On the tiles
Home safe home
Savvy traveller
Holiday honcho
Port of call
Here come the girls
It's a numbers game
Book it in
Up, up and away!
Last word

At Home with Carol Vorderman 2013