AS A single parent, Janice McLean thought she would be unable to fulfil her dream of becoming a foster carer.
The 57-year-old from Cumbernauld has three adopted children and always planned to give more kids a home through fostering.
But when her marriage ended, she thought her chances of being a foster carer were gone, too.
Janice decided to find out more information from Fostering Relations – a small independent fostering agency covering central Scotland – and was delighted to learn her marital status would not be a barrier to helping children in need.
She said: “I adopted three children as babies and my kids have grown up and left home. I’d always intended to foster but I thought because I was divorced that I wouldn’t be able to do it.
“When I phoned Fostering Relations, I thought it would be an absolute waste of time. But it wasn’t a problem – they said being divorced wouldn’t be a barrier.
“I don’t think a lot of people know that you can foster if you’re a single parent. It doesn’t matter what your sexual orientation is or whether you are married, divorced or single.
“There are so many children who need to be fostered and we just need more people to come forward to do it.”
For Janice, fostering was a preferable choice to returning to her previous career as a PA. She has been a foster carer for five-and-a-half years now, caring for a total of 10 children during that time.
She shares her home with a 10-year-old girl, who is a permanent placement.
Janice added: “After I got divorced, I was going to have to go back to work.
“I would have been going back into an office environment which I wasn’t keen on”
“As a foster carer, you are your own boss, you’re doing your own thing, you’re looking after children. It’s very rewarding.
“I like to see the difference it makes to the children. When you think back to what they were like when they first arrived compared to what they are like now, that’s why you do it. You are making a difference.
“The rewards are things like seeing the child get an achievement at school, or sleeping through the night or being able to control their temper when previously they hadn’t been able to.”
As a smaller agency, Fostering Relations are able to build strong relationships with their carers and ensure they have all the support and training they need.
Janice said: “As a single foster carer, I knew that I would need support.
“Fostering Relations is a smaller company so, if I need to phone them, I know who I’m talking to and they know all about the child.
“They know where the child has come from, they know the child’s background. I like the fact that it’s personal and that they offer 24/7 support.
“I can pick up the phone at any time and I’ll always get somebody. Sometimes it’s good just to have someone as a sounding board.”
She added: “I’m just glad I did it. I love what I do. It can be tiring and at times I think ‘why am I doing this?’ – and then I look at the wee one and I know why I’m doing it.”
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