THIS month Sutton is celebrating it's most inspiring residents with a campaign to raise awareness on fostering.

Sons and Daughters month aims to celebrate the vital contribution that the children of foster carers make to the foster system.

Foster carers' own children often become role models, mentors and supporters of the children who come to be a part of their family.

Sutton Guardian speaks to two residents with heartwarming, inspirational and positive stories to shine light on the importance of being a foster sibling. 

20 kids and beyond with Ross

Your Local Guardian:

At 14-years-old, Ross was introduced into the world of fostering and over the years saw a total of 28 children come and go into his home.

Despite it being heartbreaking at times, Ross says without the experience, he would've had far fewer family memories to look back on. 

Now, aged 32, the foster sibling has been able to reflect.

He said: "Providing a space for kids that had a rough start and getting them set up to better situations has always been the aspect of fostering that appealed.

"You can’t help but love the kids that come through your home as brothers and sisters, but at the end of the day they aren’t here to stay and so you have to say goodbye.

"That hurts, and you mourn but then the next one comes along and you invest into the new relationship.

Having them for a short time and then moving them on to their new forever home is the job, so the pain is worth the gain."

Ross says his family have kept in touch with "a number of kids" and is reminded of the importance of his role when he receives Christmas cards every year.

Your Local Guardian:

And despite growing up amongst many other kids, the 32-year-old says he never felt that he missed out on anything whilst growing up.

"If anything being a foster sibling has allowed me to do and learn more than I would have without it in my life," he told Sutton Guardian.

"The kids will love you as much as you and your family love them. Being part of a fostering family has been a very rewarding experience.

Foster families provide safe spaces for kids to thrive while their wider family situations are sorted out."

Welcoming children as an only child with Amy

Your Local Guardian:

22-year-old Amy says she was first introduced to the idea of fostering at the age of 15.

Shortly before she started sixth form, Amy's parents sat her down and asked her how she felt about fostering as a family.

"At the time, I wasn’t entirely sure how it would work, or how long it would be for, but after a lot of research and family chats I realised it was just as much something I wanted to do as my parents did," Amy told the Sutton Guardian.

"I had always wanted a sibling, as I was an only child, so to have someone to share my life with was exactly what I was looking for.

I loved having someone to talk to, gossip with, and generally just hang out with.

"I also thought it would be helpful for whoever we fostered to have an older sibling to look up to; at the time I was aspiring to go to University, and had just finished my GCSEs."

Speaking about the misconceptions surrounding fostering, Amy added: "Children in care are often believed to be troubled, difficult, and problematic, but I have never found this to be true.

Your Local Guardian:

"There are many misconceptions about fostering, so it is essential to educate yourself and your family if you are considering it.

"A lot of people don’t realise that whom you foster is not entirely out of your hands.

"You can specify the age of the children, if you would like to welcome siblings, any physical disabilities they may have (in case you don’t have the accessibility in your home), and anything else that you may find difficult to accommodate."

She added: "People often believe that they are not fit to be foster carers when the only requirements are that you have the emotional strength, space, and time to welcome children into your home.

If you have a spare room in your home, have a good support network, and emotional resilience and patience, then you fit the requirements to be a foster carer.

"After seven years of being a foster sibling ( to four children), I would never change any part of my experiences- fostering has changed my family’s lives for the better.

"We have expanded our family, and I have learned that just because you are not related by blood, having foster siblings makes no difference to the bonds you will make with them, and the impact they will have on you and your family."

To see more about both of the foster siblings experiences visit the below links.

Sutton Fostering with Amy on YouTube here.

Sutton Fostering with Ross on YouTube here.