Nexus Fostering has been making a difference in the lives of vulnerable children and young people in foster care since 2002. Here, Halima and Adam tell their story of how welcoming a 16-year-old into their family proved to be ‘wonderful’ experience
Halima, 32, and Adam, 37, are the pinnacle of a ‘modern-day foster carer’ – fostering a 16-year-old boy alongside their birth children, a nearly two-year-old daughter and an eight-year-old son. Their story is about growing together as a family and how wonderfully successful their fostering journey has been, but also how it’s not necessarily your typical story. Just like any fostering journey, they have had highs and lows. Still, their reflection on their personal and family journey is inspiring.
They were approved as foster carers nearly five years ago, offering respite care for the first few years. “Respite worked very well originally because we saw ourselves providing this intense, fun, almost holiday experience, building significant memories for these children.” they explain. “We would have a weekend or week, and it would be a holiday, and that was what we felt comfortable with. The reality is you can read it on a piece of paper, but until you are trying it, it’s different what can you stretch to.”
After numerous respite placements, they welcomed their first long-term child. “You don’t want to let the child down; it’s such a big process but look at what you get at the end. You get another family member,” they said. Halima and Adam were nervous about taking on a foster child and the life-changing decisions they had to make. “Nexus Fostering and our Supporting Social Worker supported us, empowering us to make decisions. We had no experience, but I guess Nexus Fostering saw what we had that we didn’t recognise we had, and it positively pushed us. It felt safe and just beyond our comfort zone in the right way. When our young boy moved in, he was a therapeutic-led placement, which we didn’t know anything about at the time, other than it involves much more support.”
Halima and Adam say their young boy has been part of the family since day one. “He’s so considerate and aware of things, he’s amazing with our younger children. Escaping the narrative that children in the care system are seen as scapegoats as they have ‘problems and issues’. Every positive story always outweighs the negatives. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be here today; however hard the story has been, we are still here. We went into it thinking, of course, we’re going to advocate for him, as we would any child. But putting that into practice is very different from thinking about it as you come up against everyone in the system.
“Being foster carers is what we were meant to do; it feels holistic and integrated for us. We still want our children to be around other children that way; that is important for us. Opening yourself up to building a family with young people and embracing them as part of your life, gives you a beauty that isn’t normally there. The challenges are a wonderful experience, they’re real, they’re accessible, and you can impact young people and their lives as well as your own.
“If you can offer another person a safe space and join your family, then there won’t be a moment where it feels right more than now. You are supported through that process; we can’t imagine doing it with anyone else. You can have a wonderful life experiencing joy and despair, growing, developing, and forming beautiful relationships.”