Leona and Chris foster children with complex needs

Leona and her husband Chris have been fostering children for over eight years alongside their two birth children.

“We always knew we wanted to foster,” Leona explains. “My husband was given up for adoption as a baby and had a really positive experience. We had so much to offer and have both always loved being around children so we thought we’d give it a go.”

Both Leona and Chris’s own children and foster children have special and complex needs.

“Our own children didn’t reach key milestones so we were able to pick it up more quickly with our foster children when they were younger,” Leona explains. “They came to us with attachment issues, trouble sleeping and were underdeveloped emotionally and socially. It’s been challenging in different ways, but with our help they’ve come along leaps and bounds. They’ve progressed so much, are healthier, happier and enjoy playing together.”

Leona is incredibly proud of how well her own children have supported and cared for the new family members.

“Our birth children have grown up with fostering. We’re so proud of how they’ve shared us as parents and accepted new children into the family. We actually adopted one of the children we were fostering and their attitude is ‘he’s our brother and that’s that!’”

Leona is quick to reassure families with children of their own considering adoption that they should take that next step and enquire.

“You manage, you adapt and you make it work. The process is so flexible and completely centred around your family’s needs.”

And would Leona recommend fostering to others?

“Yes, It’s truly one of the best things we ever did,” she enthuses. You can work from home, and be completely involved in your child’s education and go to school events etc. It’s all about them. You get to see some really tough cases with great outcomes and you know that you’ve done your best for that child – we love it.”