THE challenges of being a foster carer are more than outweighed by the rewards, according to a carers from Swindon.

Sandra and Resh Samra have been fostering for nearly 13 years and taken in seven children while raising their son Dominic.

Sandra said: “The love the children show you is just overwhelming. They know they’re safe, well fed and cared for and they’re doing all these things that they never had chance to do before.

“You can see them just melting and letting go of everything – all the baggage, all the things that have gone on, and the true them coming out and that is the most wonderful thing."

Sandra said Dominic took to his new siblings and enjoys the experience of being a big brother.

“When the first girl came, I said that we’d have to get some toys for her, and he went straight into his room and grabbed loads of teddy bears, so he wanted to help.”

The family developed a particularly strong bond with a child who was living with the family when he was only two-years-old.

After moving to his grandparents and siblings he was moved to another family of foster carers with his sister but continued to have respite placements with Sandra and her family.

Then last year the boy moved back in with Sandra and Resh.

Sandra said: “That has been a triumph for us, and for social services as they were really pleased that was the final result.

"He’s so settled and happy, doing well at school and knows what he wants to do in life. He’ll be part of our family for life, as will a lot of the other children.”

“There are a huge amount of positives to fostering but there are also challenges, without a doubt,” added Sandra.

“Hearing their stories is often upsetting and can be hard to shake off knowing what they’ve been through.

“But, you can overcome all that by the desire to want their life to be better and normal and to go on to lead a great life and have chances that other children have. I think the positives outweigh the negatives completely.

“People worry about things that actually, you end up not having to worry about. Like attachments, the invasion into your home, but actually it’s not an invasion. You have to see it as a wonderful addition to your family and your life.”

Swindon Borough Council is currently on a recruitment drive to get more people to become foster carers, part of Foster Care Fortnight, which ends on Sunday.

Around 350 children and teenagers needed a foster home in Swindon last year but a shortage of carers means some needing a home are being placed outside the borough. For more, visit or call 07917 503447.