CHRISTMAS will be all about the children for foster carers Diane and Jon Parsons.
The couple will be making the festive season extra special for their two-year-old foster son and their three-year-old adopted daughter.
Di, 38, of east Swindon, said Christmas would not be the same without a full house.
“Our foster children are always treated as family as long as they are here. We have been fostering since 2007 and it used to be just the two of us so it was really quiet,” she said.
“We would exchange gifts and then it was kind of over. Christmas is about kids. It is the excitement of watching them open their presents and the reaction you get that makes the day special.”
Children may be placed in foster care because their parents are ill, they have been neglected or their parents are struggling to cope.
Placements can be for one night or for several months before they are returned to their parents or considered for adoption.
Di and her husband, who look after children for short-term placements, started fostering because her parents did it when she was growing up.
“It is something I had always wanted to do. When I was younger there were always foster children in the house. I loved it, it was chaos but it was a nice kind of chaos,” she said.
“There are four of us, all girls, and there were normally up to two foster children at a time in the house.”
Di and Jon haven’t been able to have their own children but Di said they are delighted to have adopted a daughter.
“We did go through a stage where we were upset about not being able to have children, but having fostered we knew we could love the children although they are not biologically ours. We knew how hard it was when they left,” she said.
Di and Jon started fostering their daughter when she was five months old and then adopted her last year.
“She feels like ours, we have formed a really strong bond and she has got all our mannerisms. We were very lucky to be able to adopt her. We are so proud of the fact she is ours.
“Christmas is very busy. We tend to get a little carried away. What is the point of having children in the house if you can’t spoil them? It’s a very busy time, it’s just lovely. Having the kids around makes it so special.”
Training and support is available to all foster carers and people who sign up are given an allowance.
Anyone interested in fostering should call 01793 465700, email familyplacement@swindon. gov.uk or visit www.swindon.gov.uk