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Elderly couple retires from fostering after welcoming over 600 children


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Cerith Gardiner - published on 09/08/21

The Fitters have dedicated their lives and their marriage to caring for those in need.

An elderly couple has retired from fostering after welcoming over 600 children into their home over the last 56 years.

Pauline and Roger Fitter, both in their 80s, actually started fostering when they’d been married for just three months. This was due to a vow Mrs Fitter made when she was working as a nurse in a residential nursery caring for young children waiting to be adopted:

“It really hurt me to see these babies becoming institutionalized and I promised myself at the age of 19 that when I married I would foster,” she shared with the BBC.

Thankfully her husband happily supported his wife in her desire to care for these children. In fact, the first child they fostered early in their marriage was a newborn baby with bronchitis — a challenge for any new parents. Yet this experience encouraged them to continue providing a loving home to needy children.

The retired forester and his wife also had four biological children, and an adopted child whom they previously fostered. “I don’t think at any point we thought enough is enough. We could see the results of our efforts and it was very rewarding,” explained the now-grandfather of 11.

Their efforts may have led to a home life that Mrs. Fitter described as “quite chaotic,” yet their work has most certainly had a positive impact. She recalled a “silent” three-year-old girl who joined the family, avoiding eye contact and physical touch:

“It was a long process with her and then one day she just put her very tiny little hand inside mine. She must be in her 30s, but that has stayed with me because she was such a damaged little girl. It sounds a small thing, but actually it’s not, it’s huge.”

As the years went by, the couple, who lives in England, focused on welcoming children who were going through court processes. This often meant the kids were traumatized and just wanting to return home.

“It’s quite emotional work, but we’ve always worked on the understanding that the children have been through a lot, we are grown up, we can manage it too,” pointed out the former nurse.

Thanks to their dedication the husband and wife team have offered their home and so much more to these children. Although they’ve been caring for children since 1965, they’ve also been each other’s rock, with Mr Fitter explaining how his role has been “basically to do the driving … mend things and, most importantly, I was there to be shouted at if [Pauline] had a bad day.”

There are so many youngsters still in need of a loving home as they traverse difficult moments in their life. If you believe you could help see if your local parish can put you in touch with appropriate groups, such as Catholic Community Services.

AdoptionCatholic LifestyleFamily
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