"From a very early age, I was always interested in looking after children. I was a natural caregiver. When I was asked about my career goals, I would say I wanted to be a nurse. As I got older, I realised that all I wanted to do was become a mum.
I had my daughter when I was 17, before having my three other daughters after that. Throughout their young lives, I was always the one who had all the friends around. If any of them had an issue, they would come to me. There were always sleepovers and there was never a dull moment with them all there."
Following some unexpected circumstances, Frances found herself caring for a young neighbour's new-born baby. Frances and her husband George supported the young mum as best they could and helped her get the necessary help through the correct channels.
They cared for the baby for six months and it proved to be the catalyst that started their fostering journey. "I just thought to myself, I could be a foster carer. I had loved looking after that wee baby and helping him and I knew it was something that I could dedicate my life to."
Although they didn't start fostering straight away, it was always in the back of their mind as they continued with their lives. They had made a few enquiries, but when their youngest daughter turned five, they knew it was time to investigate fostering further.
"An ad popped up for Care Visions Fostering Scotland and from the minute I saw it, I knew I had to discuss it with George. It was fate." Frances and George have now been fostering with us for over 10 years. Their story is a testament to resilience and understanding. They, like others who foster, are focused on the children they care for.
"Foster carers need to be child-focused. Our whole family is based around our child, we're children centred. All the aspects of our lives are informed by our kids and what their needs are. My friends thought I was mad, but I would always laugh it off and tell them that this was my life, and my life was my children."
With such wise words from Frances, it's no wonder that they've achieved many successes as foster carers. "That's what it's all about, watching the little achievements become big ones. That's what we do it for."
Although their journey started with supporting a neighbour, Frances and George now have a wealth of experience when it comes to fostering children of all ages. Frances maintains that it’s important to remember, no matter what age a child may be, foster carers need to be prepared to take three steps forward and two steps back when it comes to creating bonds with the children you care for. It’s this knowledge that has ensured that she and her husband are always ready to show the young people they care for that they’re with them every step of the way.
Care Visions Fostering Scotland celebrated Frances and George’s achievements as foster carers in 2019 at their 10 Year Foster Carer Celebration. They were joined by five other sets of carers, who were presented with their awards, along with the opportunity to donate £100 to a charity of their choosing.
After careful consideration, Frances and George decided on the Team Jak Foundation as the recipient of their donation. The charity provides support to children and young people with cancer and related illnesses, alongside friends, family and those affected.