Michael Croft* spent his childhood going to and from different foster homes. As a family man himself, he wants to tell his story during Foster Focus Week and inspire others to help change a life like his foster parents changed his.
The number of children being looked after across the UK is rising and we need more foster carers in Hampshire to help support our children and young people. “If you’ve got love in your body to help children, then you can foster. They need support, they need structure and they need somewhere they can call a forever home.” says Michael.
From the age of three up until 16, Michael was in and out of foster homes and children's homes. “When I was younger, I lived with about five different foster parents. I just wanted a family life. I’ve blocked a lot of it out because there were quite a few troubled times. I began rebelling a lot and I blamed myself.” he says, “I went into the mindset that I don’t deserve a family. Everyone deserves a family though - it’s what you believe at the time.”
Michael found his forever home with his family 35 years ago who help change his mindset. “I never called them my parents back then, but now I do. It’s nice to still see and speak to them every week. They always supported me, had a lot of patience and built up my confidence.” says Michael. “When I was about 12, my foster parents asked me if I wanted to be adopted. I said no because I wanted to prove that all Croft’s were not bad people. I wanted to rectify my name and turn it around and be something to be proud of and not ashamed of.”
About 20 years ago Michael joined the forces and loved it. He then trained as an engineer and helps the cadets in his local area on a regular basis. “I want to be role model. My parents have made me the man I am today and although I’m not perfect, I feel as though I have come far.” he says.
“I have no hatred towards my biological parents. Now I’ve gone through what I’ve gone through, I understand. I count my blessings though, because I've had the crème de la crème of foster parents. I’m very lucky. There’s lots of foster parents like them who do amazing jobs, you just don’t always hear about them.”
Hampshire County Council has an outstanding OFSTED rating, reflecting all the work that takes place to help children reach their potential. We offer good support, fee allowances and extras for holiday, birthdays and Christmas. If you, or someone you know has the potential to start fostering please get in touch with Fostering Hampshire Children today - call 0300 555 1384 or visit www.hants.gov.uk/fostering