Foster caring is more than just giving kids a home, it is about treating them as you would your own child
FOSTER caring is often seen as one of the most selfless acts.
Opening the door of your family home to help vulnerable children from various backgrounds may seem a daunting task but, for two Hull carers, it just comes naturally.
For 13 years, Terry and Jackie Rose, who are both in their 60s, have been caring for foster children, providing them with life-changing opportunities they may have not been presented with before.
The life of a foster carer is somewhat of a mystery to many but, just like Terry and Jackie have been doing with children for more than a decade, visitors are welcomed with open arms into their home.
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And it is just that – a family home.
"Come in, make yourself at home, I've just put the kettle on," said Terry. "The children are still in their bedrooms."
Terry and Jackie provide a real sense of just how important family is to them.
Photographs throughout the house highlight the importance placed on family but, at the same time, it does not appear daunting or overpowering to visitors.
With four adult children, 15 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren themselves, they could be forgiven for setting their sights on boarding a luxury cruise or enjoying an extended holiday but this does not seem in their nature.
Instead, the couple are currently caring for three foster children aged 14, 16 and 17, and you feel very privileged to speak to such selfless and heart-warmingly generous people.
"We enjoy helping children who need it the most. It is not just about giving them a home, it's about being there for them and treating them as you would your own children," said Terry.
"It is so rewarding to see children in your care grow and develop. It is a fantastic feeling."
Terry and Jackie have cared for 30 children for various periods since they began fostering.
Terry originally worked as an agricultural consultant and Jackie was a secretary who, late in her career, became a registered child-minder and it was from here the fostering journey began.
"We started fostering for a partially selfish reason," said Terry.
"Our first three children had left home when our youngest arrived and, as she was rather isolated when not at school, we fostered another child to provide her with a sibling.
"Jackie and I had enjoyed happy family lives as children and I assumed this was the norm, not having experienced anything else at home or with my school friends.
"In the past 13 years, I have been shocked and very saddened to hear of so many young lives damaged by abuse and neglect, so it is a fantastic feeling to be able to help these children."
Jackie said becoming a foster carer is one the best decisions she has made.
"Seeing the children you have cared for grow and mature is something that is quite touching and fills us both with pride," she said.
"One girl, who we fostered from the age of 10, is now 23, married and with a son but she still calls us Mum and Dad.
"Barely a week goes by without a birthday in the family now."
Before becoming foster carers, Terry and Jackie had to undergo a year-long training course to understand the demands of fostering.
"The course was a bit of an eye-opener as I was very naive as to why children needed foster homes," said Terry.
"Parenting other people's children is a huge responsibility and additional skills are needed to help cope with, and partially mend, the damage done.
"It is hard work but it can be very rewarding when you witness what the young people can achieve and this is probably why it has become addictive for Jackie and I."
Foster carers receive support from other professionals to offer emotional and physical therapy.
Yvonne Burton, fostering service manager at Foster Care Associate's (FCA) Hessle office, said the support network helps provide a family atmosphere for everyone involved in fostering.
She said: "Social workers do an invaluable job in providing support to children and carers.
"Every carer attends four or five training courses each year to improve their skills and awareness and engage in monthly support group meetings with other carers."
Terry and Jackie have no immediate plans to stop fostering children and want to encourage more people to become carers.
"We both enjoy being part of the FCA family and hope to continue fostering," they said. "If our story can help more people become carers that would be fantastic. It really is something anyone will grow to love."