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A day in the life of foster carer Karen

Karen has been a short-term foster carer for 11 years alongside her husband Brian who works as a motor vehicle technician. They live with their 18-year-old daughter who works a nursery school and son (11 years old) who attends a SEND school and they are currently caring for a 7 month old baby.

Karen and  her son

I started my day...

Baby wakes early, usually 6am which is when Brian gets up, so he gives him first bottle and nappy change then brings me a cup of tea at 6.45am. This is the quietest part of the day and I enjoy the peace. Our son wakes at 7am and has breakfast. I help him get ready for the school taxi which comes at 7.50am.



My morning...

Once bus has left, I take time to have another cup of tea and play with the baby. He loves to play with his toy arch and bashing the hanging toys together. It is then time to get baby ready and give him his breakfast. He has only recently started weaning and enjoys his porridge very much. He will have a little milk afterwards and this is when he falls asleep. This gives me time to tidy the kitchen, start the washing machine and clear up the living room! Around 11am we go for a walk around the park where he enjoys looking at the tree branches and the sun filtering through them.

My afternoon...

Once we're back home I hang up the washing then prepare lunch for baby and myself. After a quick tidy of the kitchen, it's time for more play. Baby is soon tired and ready for another nap. I take the chance to tidy upstairs and send some lovely videos I've made to the baby's prospective adopters. They are delighted to see them and it's one of my favourite parts of the day.

If he sleeps long enough, I can watch something on tv - my favourite is property shows. The school taxi returns at 3.50pm and my son plays some games with baby, like peek a boo which makes him laugh. My daughter gets home from work and will help with both children when needed. My son and daughter have always been brilliant with all of the children and I love watching the way they interact with them and treat them as part of the family.

My evening...

Teatime for the baby is at 4.15pm and my son will have a snack and a drink. He plays with toys and goes on iPad while I bath baby and get him ready for bed. My son has additional needs and is a little picky over what he will eat so he has his tea around 5.30pm.

Brian gets home around 6.30pm and I give baby a bottle around then. He falls asleep and we take him upstairs to bed. It's time to read a schoolbook with our son and then he has time to read or play before a shower and bedtime. He likes one of us to sit with him for 10 minutes before the lights go out and it's always a nice relaxing time together.

 I take some time to fill in a daily diary for our social worker to read when we next meet up which includes information about what we've been up to, the baby's development and our day together.  I also spend time replying to emails about upcoming adoption meetings.

We take turns in making our tea depending on who is sitting upstairs and then myself, Brian and our daughter eat together around 8pm. Once kitchen is tidy and showers over, we sit down around 9pm and watch a tv series and it's a great way to relax after a busy day. I end my day by watching tv after sorting clothes and checking school bags are packed for the next day. 10.30pm is usually bedtime.

My day summary

Some of the fostering tasks I did today were...

Looking after all baby's needs, bottle feeding and solids, nappy changes throughout the day, lots of cuddles and communication. Filling in a daily diary for supervising social worker to read at supervision. Replying to emails.

Some things my foster child(ren) and I did together today was...

Play, feed, cuddles and getting out for a walk.  

The best part of my day/thing that happened today was...

Getting some lovely videos to share with baby's prospective adopters and them being so happy to see them.

Something I found tough today was...

The baby is at the awkward stage where he is unable to crawl but wants to be up and about and keeps me on my toes. It can be tiring but it's also so much fun!

Some other things that are coming up this week are...

We have a meeting with his social worker and then the same day an adoption planning meeting. We also have an event with our Mockingbird group at the weekend which we are looking forward to.

Since becoming a foster carer, the biggest way my days have changed is...

We have lots of appointments between my son and baby. There are lots of visits from social workers which are enjoyable as we get updates and have a nice chat. Sometimes we get lots of appointments in a short space of time, so it pays to be organised.

My number one tip for adjusting to life as a foster carer is to be organised and flexible. Sometimes a social worker will be nearby and ask to pop in and this is never a problem unless we happen to be out!


Interested in fostering?

You can explore the benefits of fostering and types of fostering on our website to get a better feel for how fostering might work for you. To register your interest with no commitment, call 0800 917 7771. Our hub advisers are ready and waiting to answer any questions you might have, big or small.

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