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Reform Magazine | November 25, 2020

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I am… a foster carer

I am… a foster carer

Phil Watson on what drew him into fostering and adoption

When men turn 40, it is traditional to have a midlife crisis. Some men start going to the gym and wearing age-inappropriate clothes. I decided to become a foster carer. More accurately, my wife suggested we explore the possibility of becoming a foster family.

Our birth children were five and seven, and although I am biased, they are really rather fantastic kids, being academic, sporty and fairly sociable. My job as a secondary school teacher was demanding but going well. My wife was a solicitor. We lived in a semi-detached house with pebble dash and a compost heap. Perhaps we were in danger of becoming a little ordinary.

At first glance, the risks of fostering seemed to outweigh any benefits. Would we have room in our house and hearts for an extra child? How would our kids be affected? More importantly, would my wife still have time for me?

My wife took us along to an information event run by the Council. I’d been on worse dates.

We heard stories from a foster carer, and a young adult who had grown up in foster homes. Their stories had us in tears and laughter. Many adults who have grown up in care struggle in later life. Many of our homeless, our prison population and those suffering from mental health issues were once in care. This information offended my sense of justice. It was not enough to feel pity, I had to show compassion, and take action. As Christians, we were strongly motivated by our faith and God’s obvious heart for the orphan.

… I began to wonder. What would it be like for a five year old, or younger, to be taken to a stranger’s house and left there, perhaps forever? …

Phil Watson is a foster carer with Liverpool City Council. For more information about Home For Good, visit homeforgood.org.uk

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This is an extract from an article published in the November 2020 edition of Reform

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