Maggie was well into her 50’s when she decided she wanted to focus on a more rewarding career path. She was doing a bit of home care work in between jobs, and enjoyed the feeling of contributing to society.
At her age and with her life experience, Maggie knew she had a great deal to offer if only she could find a place where her experience and her warm personality could create a positive change in someone’s world, and she played with the idea of setting up her own business as a child minder.
“It was my daughter who told me to think about fostering. She is partially blind and she thought I would be good at supporting a child with needs like her own. I was good at fighting her corner, and she thought I could help fight another child’s corner too!”
Could I become a foster carer over 50?
“Could I become a foster carer?” Maggie asked herself. What about her age? What about the training she would need? Undaunted, she began to explore the idea of fostering. It turned out that age was not a factor and all the necessary training was provided. Maggie looked at several agencies, before deciding to join Capstone Foster Care because of the excellent support they offered.
Excited at the possibilities, Maggie kept an open mind and she was open to the idea of fostering children of all ages. She was approached to foster a sibling group, brothers ages 2 and 5 to which she gave a resounding, “Yes.” One of the boys spent a lot of time in hospital at the beginning of the placement, and Maggie never left his side.
That was back in 2009! Over the years, Maggie has provided the boys with plenty of love and stability and they are still with her in 2016. One of the boys has ADHD and she admits that sometimes his behaviour can be challenging, but part of the support that Capstone provides is a respite carer to allow her to have a break when she needs it.
The one thing that Maggie says she enjoys most about being a foster carer is when a young person achieves or receives something they never expected to. It makes her feel very proud to watch them and to see their sense of accomplishment.
Ongoing training for carers
Capstone provides ongoing training to carers, from the beginning assessment period and throughout their career. Maggie is up to date with all the essential core training, and says the courses she has enjoyed and found most useful are “The Child’s World,” “Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome,” and “Transitions & Life Story Work.”
Maggie’s daughter recently moved out to start a new chapter in her life, something that the people around them always said she wasn’t capable of doing on her own. Maggie’s love, support and perseverance proved them wrong, and her daughter drives, works at a nursery, and is studying Childcare Level 3. It was an emotional time for Maggie, but her sadness at seeing her daughter leave home was tinged with happiness and pride that she was building a life for herself.
Unsurprisingly, Maggie was not left with the Empty Nest Syndrome as she has two boys to care for which takes up a great deal of her time! Capstone provides regular support groups – Maggie has attended one so far, and felt that it was extremely useful to listen to other foster carers and their views.
What she does want to share is that in building a good solid relationship with the boys, trust is the key element. A foster child has undoubtedly been through some tough times and it is important that the child is able to feel safe and secure and trust that the foster parent has their best interests at heart.
Making a difference
Maggie had to learn how the boys are together while at the same time, had to teach them how they to deal with different situations together. It’s been a satisfying and gratifying experience for Maggie and she knows she is making a difference that matters in the lives of two young boys who can now look forward to building a brighter future.
As a result of her continued support and care, Maggie received an award from Capstone Foster Care for her outstanding contribution. Her Social Worker offered her congratulations by saying: “I was impressed with Maggie’s level of understudying of the children’s needs and her commitment and persistence. Maggie I think your boys and your family would agree that you deserves this award, well done and thank you!”