Return to listing

Sarah's Respite Fostering Journey

Meet a respite foster parent who turned her dream of fostering into reality at 32. Sarah shares her journey so far and the impact she's had on children in care.

January 4 2024 - 4 min read

Meet our extraordinary respite foster parent, Sarah. Since her early twenties, she envisioned "giving something back" to society. At 32, she turned that dream into a reality.

In this interview, Sarah opens up about her journey to become a respite foster carer, and the profound impact it has had on both her life and the children she cares for.

Download information pack

If you're interested in fostering, then download our information pack to discover everything you need to know about becoming a foster parent with ISP.


Inspiration to foster

I decided that I wanted to become a foster carer probably about ten years ago. Indirectly, I've sort of had experiences of what it's like to need a foster carer or to have to be involved with social services, and from that, it's just something that I felt that later on in life, I just really wanted to give something back to society.

Choosing respite care

[Through the fostering assessment], you got to understand the different types of foster carers that you can be. And so I decided that I wanted to become a respite carer. Mainly because I run a small business, so respite care seems to just be the right fit because it means that it's not all of the time. But at the same time, I get to do what I love to do, which is to give something back and help foster carers as well.

Heartwarming moments

You know, it's so lovely. We've just had the Halloween activity day, and there were some children that I had not seen for a while, and we did like a family quiz thing. And they all wanted to be on my team and they all remember my name.

Because I'm not in their lives all the time, it's really nice that actually they do still remember me, and that one of them, in particular, was coming to stay in a couple of weeks. And she's like, "yeah, I'm coming to stay in a couple of weeks", and, "I'm looking forward to seeing Pebbles", which is my dog, and, "what are we going to be doing when I'm there?"

Creating lasting memories

We are just one big family, so we do get to stay connected and keep in contact with each other, which I think is really important.

It's really nice that, you know, even if they've only been with me for a weekend or a short amount of time, I like to think that that's something, a memory that they take away with them. And I always give them a photo or a couple of photos of their time with me so that they can take that away and just remember those memories as well.

Well, you can see from my face it clearly makes me very happy. And I think that's really important.

Support from ISP

From the get-go with ISP, the start of the application process, it was just incredible. We have an amazing group of carers. We get together every month. I've got my supervising social worker, so I meet up with her every four weeks. I can meet up with my fostering advisor as often as I like. It really is just to check in to make sure you're okay. Everything's okay. And I think, you know, you need that. And it also gives you reassurance that what you're doing is right. And you can pick up the phone and you can phone someone at any time, any time, day or night.

Embracing the journey with a supportive community

I also had a foster carer that I was able to go to out-of-hours who actually ended up coming over and supported me through a really difficult time. And so it was just a really lovely feeling to know that you're not alone in this journey. Everyone has got experience and in all different areas. And even our most experienced carers, something might come up that's the first time they've ever experienced that and they reach out for help.

The rewarding path of a foster parent

I find being a foster carer so rewarding. I really do. The reason I wanted to become a foster carer was that I just really wanted to give something back, something back to society, something back to those incredible people that do just give their lives to these children who have just had a really rough start in life.

And so for me, as challenging as it can be sometimes, it's just so rewarding at the end of it. And I just feel like I've really grown as a person doing this. And even if that child can just take one tiny thing away from the short time that they stay with me, then that's the reason that I do it. And I just, yeah, I'd like to continue down this journey and maybe eventually even become a full-time foster carer. But yeah, for me, it's the most rewarding thing I've ever done in my life.