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"Having a respite foster carer for our disabled daughter has made a huge difference to the whole family"

Georgina, her husband and their daughter Martha taking a selfie

Friday 12 February 2021

Georgina and her husband have the help of a respite carer, who looks after their disabled daughter for 14 nights a month. Read their story to find out the difference respite carers make to families.

Having a foster carer for our disabled daughter has made a huge difference to the whole family.

When Martha was six years old, she was diagnosed with a genetic disorder which affects the protein for brain and muscle growth, so she has some physical disabilities. Until that point, she had been diagnosed with Autism.

When we first considered asking for help with Martha, my husband and I were at breaking point in our relationship and indeed as a family in general.

We are a very active family and all play sports. Martha enjoys to swim and go for walks too. She loves being around other people and craves attention, so everything revolves around her when she is at home.

When Sally and Barry fostered Martha on respite, it felt like a weight had been lifted. Sally is an absolute angel; she means everything to us and we class her as another mum to Martha.

We have three other children, Jonah (18), Oscar (14) and Tabitha (9). Plus, we both work so can’t give Martha attention all the time. Sally and Barry can give Martha that 24-hour care she needs implicitly.

Martha adores them both. It is so comforting for us to see that she is happy and safe with them. She will even wait by the front door when she knows that she’s going to see Sally and Barry.

Martha is a brilliant child, but she can also be quite difficult. She is not able to speak except for saying yes and no, but she can do Makaton signing. She also claps when she wants something. Sadly, when we don’t understand her, she can lash out. She needs help dressing, feeding, washing, and going to the bathroom too.

W When Sally has Martha, we can spend quality time with our other three children and give them the extra attention they need and deserve.

It wasn’t an easy decision to enquire about foster care, as you feel like you’re giving up on your child and you question what sort of mother you are.

But this has enabled me to be a better mother. Sometimes you just can’t give your all and you need a break for yourself or your family. This has been the best break for us.

It is certainly a leap of faith, to put your trust in someone else to look after your child, but for us it has been the best thing we ever did. Not just for us as a couple but for all four of our children, including Martha.

I can also see the joy that it brings Sally. By coming forward to foster you will not only be helping to make a real difference to families, like mine, across Essex, but make a difference to your life too.

To hear the other side of this fostering story, read Sally and Barry's blog.