Edinburgh mum encourages others into foster care after support pulled her out of a difficult childhood
For Edinburgh mum Wilma, meeting ‘exceptional people’ while in care as a young person gave her the support and love she needed to flourish after a ‘tricky’ childhood.
Now the 55-year-old has become a foster carer herself, and wants to encourage others to join her and give children and young people access to the support they need.
“I was very lucky that people came into my life who were encouraging and supportive,” she said.
“It really changed my life and made me feel I wasn’t worthless, and I wanted to pay that back.”
“The young person in my care is exceptional, she has a great sense of humour, and is the kindest person you could ever meet,” she said.
“Being a foster carer is very rewarding. It’s a lot of hard work but it’s just lovely to watch someone flourish and grow into themselves.”
Wilma is a foster carer through Barnardo’s, which is currently recruiting for more foster carers.
“I looked at many different fostering agencies and undertook a lot of research before I chose to go with Barnardo’s Scotland, and it’s been the best decision I have ever made.
“The training has been exceptional and the support both before I became a foster carer and during has been second to none,” she said.
The experience has been both challenging and rewarding, Wilma said.
“You’ve got to be very patient and understanding. It’s just like having your own children, you are going to hit some hurdles but the right support will get you through,” she said.
“I was very lucky I had an unbelievable match and I have had such a good experience. I would advise that people don’t rush any decisions, take time and make sure you get the right fit for you and the child or young person, it’s very important that you know you’re right for each other.
After years of wanting to ‘give back’ after her own childhood, it was Wilma’s sons who finally convinced her to become a foster carer.
“My boys told me to stop talking about becoming a foster carer and do it, and that’s what I would say to anyone else.
“If this is something which has always been at the back of your mind, do something about it and find out if it’s really for you.
“There are children out there who you will make a massive difference to.”
Sue Brunton, Barnardo’s Scotland’s Assistant Director of Family Placement said: “This is a real and pressing need for vulnerable children and young people in and coming into care and Barnardo’s Scotland wants to provide them with a loving family.”