A few years ago Roger and Caroline attended the same lectures as I at Lampeter University. My curiosity was immediately aroused, while Caroline’s playful intelligence
and Rogers easy laugh and sharp humour was attractive; it was their high level of energy and drive that intrigued me.
But who are they?
Their stories could not be more different yet they are a team; a married couple with a shared passion.
Caroline originally from Guilford, Surrey, had a happy childhood. ‘ We were the privileged families who were able to climb the social ladder by newopportunities, buy
our own home and become what I supposed was middle class.’ She says. Her contentment was to end most horribly when she was sexually abused as a teenager.
It shaped her view of the world and she spent her early adulthood ina state of confusion. She had four children amidst a world of poor choices and abusive relationships.
‘I had become a magnet to them.’ She states simply.
In her early thirties she hit an all time low and following some depressive periods decided to take control of her life and went to University to study an Access Course
(aimed at mature students who want a higher education.). ‘It opened up a whole new world for me and my confidence soared.’ She recalls.
personal development course. Promoted very quickly, she soon found herself struggling to balance her job with home life and her children studying A levels and leaving
for University. ‘I had to say enough was enough, but I so enjoyed supporting young people I decided to become a foster carer with the support of my kids.’ She smiles. ‘
And haven’t regretted a single day.’
Roger started life in one of the roughest areas of Swansea. Roger affirms: ‘You had to make a lot of choices at an early age to survive.’ But his hard working, loving parents
instilled their values in him and an exceptional teacher in school inspired a thirst for knowledge; including arts and music and a love of life. Despite this he never finished his
A levels. His father had a serious accident at work and he left school before his exams to work in a local toy factory as a trainee cost accountant to support the family.
He was seventeen. From then on he had a succession of momentous turning points where he had to change his life. ‘I applied for a job in the Swansea’s Magistrates Court and
got it. Then at 21 I married someone I had known since we were 16. We had a rough time for about six years, mainly due to my immaturity. At 29 I had my first child, Victoria,
and moved to Leeds with the family for a fresh start.’ Roger recalls. While working in Leeds Magistrates Court, Roger had become a semi pro musician and in 1976 he had
another child, James. Twenty four years later his wife, Chris, was diagnosed with cancer and she died three years later. ‘I choose a selfish and destructive lifestyle, but,
ironically, everyone thought I was great company for a party.’ He observes.
perfectly in alignment with how my life was progressing.’ Says Caroline. Fostering has been part of their lives for eight years now and the couple help train new carers in Wales.
There is no doubt their combined life experience goes a long way to understand how unpredictable and sometimes cruel life can be and the kind of choices people make in
stressful circumstances. However, the pleasure of assisting children and their families often comes with some pain. ‘We have had sleepless nights’ Roger admits and adds there
have been times where they have been unable to connect with a child.
Writing, drama (Roger helped set up an amateur dramatics society, Memorama, when he was widowed back in 2003), playing music and practicing Buddhism has proven a great
way of channelling complex emotions. ‘And the children can join in if they want to.’ Says Caroline.
Will they ever retire from fostering?
‘Our happiness is entrenched in what we do, we love our own 6 children and having them around, we love our community and getting involved witheveryone, we love having children
come to us that need a bit of guidance and direction AND LOVE, we love working with Mother and Baby placements thatwe have recently seen so many of.’ Says Caroline while Roger
nods emphatically. ‘We are supposed to be retired, but fostering gives you themomentum to stay young. And it’s so rewarding. ‘ Roger smiles.
Roger’s playing with Brass Ear, you can find them on: YouTube (Vehicle march 2012 Brass Ear.mpg)
If You would like to know more about the amateur dramatics society Roger and Caroline supports, check out: memorama.org.uk
An Evil Cradling (Brian Keenan)
Elephant (Raymond Carver)
Plays 2 (Anthony Minghella)
Thank you for visiting and reading this true story, I hope you enjoyed and would love to hear from you.
Come back again or click “follow’ for the next story – Driven: Kathy Ma is half chinese, half Australian but Hong Kong is her home.