Glenys Fosters siblings and babies

“You’re probably too young to remember but it was the plight of the Vietnamese boat people that first got my husband and I interested in helping children,” says Stockport foster carer Glenys. “Because they were repatriated rather than fostered or adopted we couldn’t help them directly.

“But the idea of children that were in desperate need certainly opened our eyes the idea of fostering as a way of making a difference.”

Glenys has been fostering siblings and babies for her Local Authority for more years than she cares to mention. She wants to keep families together. But it was when her birth daughter brought home a friend from school who was living in the care system that she decided it was the right time to act.

“So we fostered him,” she laughs. “We had to learn of the job I can tell you. You could see a change in his behaviour in just a few days, it was amazing. He’s done really well in life, has gone on to be a residential worker in a children’s home. We’re still in touch twenty five years later, you know.”

Glenys understands the value of a good foster carer and what stability they can bring to the life of a young person in need.

“To hear a child laugh for the first time when they’re with you is something to cherish,” she says. “To see them play. Often the first thing children do when they get to us is sleep for ages. They’re finally relaxing because it’s always so quiet and calm at our house.”

Holidays and in particular Christmas are key times for children in foster care. It’s an emotional time but there are wonderful rewards for the children when they find their feet in a comforting environment like Glenys’s.

“You have to be sensitive around Christmas,” says Glenys, “because it can have been a hard time for some children in the past. Some of the children have never seen a Christmas present or if they have it’s been sold the next day.

“I’ve got into a habit that’s been going for twenty years or so now,” she continues. “I buy a Christmas decoration for the tree every year that’s been chosen by the child or children that we’re fostering. We also buy a second one that can go in the child’s memory box too so they remember their time with us.

“It breaks my heart a little bit every year when we get the Christmas tree up and I see all the baubles again and the happy memories come flooding back,” she says. “But fortunately I’m in touch with most of the children still. In fact I’m god parent to three of the babies we fostered so we must be doing something OK.”