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“We’ve always said that family isn’t just blood”

Debbie and Jake have been fostering with ISP for over two and a half decades, and have made a huge difference to the young people they've cared for.

May 30 2023 - 5 min read

Debbie and Jake became foster parents with ISP in 1998 and have provided a safe and loving home to many children over the years.

Here they share some of their experiences as foster parents and talk about the support they’ve received from ISP during their time fostering.

“We’ve never had a time where we’ve been left on our own to deal with a situation, whatever time of the day or night it is.”

Debbie and Jake’s journey started after initially helping out as weekend respite for the mother of an autistic child, before making the decision to take the leap into full-time fostering 25 years ago in the March of 1998.

The couple has looked after several children over the last two and a half decades, including children living with the additional challenges of losing a parent.

Debbie went on to explain that fostering is something that they had always wanted to do as a couple but they were just waiting for the right time, and that they’ve never looked back since.

"We've always said that family isn't just blood.

"As soon as a child walks through our front door to come and live with us, they are part of our family.”

She continued to describe how rewarding life as a foster parent is, telling a story about how the couple would receive wonderful messages of appreciation from previous foster children.

“He [a previous foster child] has sent us some amazing messages saying, ‘I wasn't appreciative when I was with you’ but I’d say to him ‘you were a child, struggling and we were helping you’ and he said ‘you were like parents to me, you’re family.’ It’s nice to get that feedback because you feel like you’re doing a good job.”

Jake and Debbie also explained how ISP has made them feel supported every step of the way.

“Over the whole time that we’ve been with ISP, not once have we ever been left to deal with a situation,” Debbie continues, “that sort of support, you wouldn't get that anywhere else. It's just always, always been there."

Debbie added: “ISP is a family to us. Everybody makes you feel welcome and everybody makes you feel important.”

If you would like to know more about becoming a foster parent, call our friendly team on 0800 0857 989 or complete our online form today.