Deborah Mbabazi's story
When my two children grew up and moved out to start their own lives it went from a vibrant, happy home to a quiet, empty house with no soul.
I started to reflect on my purpose in life as I felt like a little piece of my identity had left with my children.
My faith has filled me with love, so I desperately felt like I had more love to share. As a Christian, I am always asking myself “what more can you do to help others?”
That is when I called Essex County Council about fostering…
I was quite set on fostering young children but due to my busy career I soon began to realise that it would not be a suitable option. I would not be able to give small children the full attention they deserved, and I was determined to continue my successful career in the NHS.
I nearly gave up on the idea of fostering, until the option of supported lodgings was explained to me.
A lightbulb went off in my head as it seemed like the perfect solution. I could continue to work full-time but still have a house full of love. I would be making a difference in the NHS and in the lives of young people who just needed a helping hand.
It is a decision I do not regret for one moment.
I may not be able to afford those I provide supported lodgings to as much time as if I were a full-time foster carer, but even a pinch of time makes a huge difference. They may be coming from a family where they were not given any time or shown any love at all. All they want is a safe, caring, stable home environment.
You see them arrive at your home scared and timid, but when you invest some time in nurturing them you see a confident young person start to develop. That is just so rewarding.
I keep in contact with all those who have stayed with me. When they call to tell me about their recent successes, it is just so uplifting.
I would say that supported lodgings is an excellent alternative to full-time foster care but just as rewarding. As the young people you take in are self-sufficient, I’m able to work full-time, go on holiday and have a social life.
By looking after myself and ensuring I nurture my own life, I’m in turn nurturing the life of those young people I foster and preparing them for independence.
During the Covid-19 pandemic I was working lots of extra shifts in the NHS whilst having two foster children at home. So, if anyone is considering supported lodgings as an option, but are concerned that they won’t have enough time due to work, then please re-consider! Its life changing.