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Social services Foster carers' real-life stories

Mary's story...

My partner John and I are foster carers for Manchester. Every placement is different, but we always try to go above and beyond for the children and their families.

We recently fostered a baby boy, born 12 weeks premature. When he needed an operation, John stayed overnight with him at the hospital, while I stayed home with another child who was placed with us. Some people might argue that the baby was too young to know whether John had stayed with him or not, but we didn’t want to leave him in hospital alone.

As he was premature, I’ve had to take the little boy to lots of medical appointments. When we found out he would be going back to Bulgaria soon, we pushed for the appointments to be brought forward so that the results would come through and he could have the treatment he needed before he left.

The baby’s grandmother, who lives in Bulgaria, had been positively assessed to become his carer, so she travelled here to pick him up. So that they could start bonding straight away, I liaised with all the relevant professionals to make sure that ‘contact sessions’ were set up as soon as possible after she arrived. As grandma didn’t know the area and was struggling to get to and from the sessions, I picked her up and dropped her off for every one of them. I also learned a little Bulgarian (and got a little help from Google Translate!) to help us communicate with each other when the translator wasn’t around.

When the day came for our foster baby to go home to Bulgaria, I offered to take him and his grandmother to the airport and communicate with the airport staff. There was an issue with the tickets, which would have caused a problem due to the language barrier if I hadn’t been there, so I’m glad I stayed around to help.

I’ve kept in touch to make sure the little boy is settling in okay, and as I couldn’t fit all his belongings into a suitcase, I shipped them over in a parcel so that nothing (except for our memories of him and the time he spent with us) got left behind.

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