In February 2018, a child was placed in their care following her discharge from hospital. Equipped with only the knowledge of the injuries the child had suffered, nobody was able to predict what complications or challenges were ahead for her or her foster carers.
Sandra and Mark brought the child into their home with open arms and from the very start, provided her with love, stability and compassion, which would enable her to make significant progress in her recovery. To this day, the child continues to amaze everyone around her as she makes remarkable progress.
This resulted in Sandra being nominated by social workers Danielle Dally and Sarah Vater for a WeCare Wales Award. Sandra then became a finalist and went on to win the Award.
Here’s a summary of what Danielle and Sarah had to say about Sandra:
“Sandra and her husband Mark are exceptional foster carers who consistently demonstrate commitment, passion and a high quality of care to all the children they have cared for since 2001.
They care for a child with complex disabilities and to this day, the child continues to amaze everyone around her as she makes remarkable progress. Sandra, as the main carer, is faced with daily challenges as she ensures that she meets the physical and emotional needs of the child, attends medical appointments and meetings, as well as supports and promotes time with her birth family.
Sandra makes it look so effortless, despite the lack of sleep. What Sandra and Mark provide the child is beyond a safe and loving home environment; she is provided with acceptance and opportunities to enjoy a second chance at life and meet her full potential."
Sandra said: “We are both so excited and thrilled to have won this award, it might be my name on the award but it’s for our whole family. Thanks also to the fostering team and the children’s social workers for all the support they’ve given us over the years."
Here Sandra shares her experience of fostering:
“The best thing about being a foster carer? It’s seeing how they progress, it’s just enjoying them, working with them and just being on their side. It was about 20 years ago that I had a friend that had been fostering for a while; we’d thought about it for many years but always put it off as we had two children of our own that were growing up. When they were in school and university we decided, right lets go for it! We made the initial enquiry and we haven’t looked back since.
We began as short break carers for children with a disability and two years later I gave up my job to become a full time foster carer. During our time fostering there have been so many highlights. Seeing the children thrive and see the joy in them when they’ve achieved something, working to ensure they get the best possible start in life is amazing. We don’t foster for any kind of recognition, we foster to help look after and care for any child who comes into our home.
I love looking after children, it’s something that I have always enjoyed doing even when my children were little. It’s just very rewarding. It has its hard times, don’t get me wrong but I wouldn’t change it for the world. It gives you a little bit of a buzz!”