Recently, Bishop and Sister Hughes of Ashton 1 Ward, Ashton Stake, were approached by their local council to be the face of their Foster Care Fortnight campaign intended to encourage other members within the community to consider fostering children in need. Bishop and Sister Hughes were invited to share some brief thoughts about why they care about fostering. They responded with this quote, “Because children are our future doctors, shop workers, police, social workers, and chefs.” Bishop Chris Hughes shared his family’s experience of fostering.
“We have been foster-carers for three and a half years now. In that time, we have looked after and loved ten children. Fostering is something that we always wanted to do and just presumed we would do it when our children were a lot older or had left home. When we moved into a larger house, we thought that our two boys would like to have separate rooms, but they begged not be split up as they had shared a room since being little. As we had a spare bedroom, we contacted our local council and started the in-depth process to become foster carers. We were able to share the gospel during this process when answering questions like ‘do you have a shrine in your home?’, ‘I thought you wore skirts down to your ankles’, and so on.
We care for one or two children at a time, usually younger than four years old. Our birth children are fantastic with our foster children, they read to them, play with them, kiss and hug them and make them feel welcome.
“All our foster children have attended church with us. We always ask their parents for permission and so far, everyone has allowed them to attend.
“Ashleigh is the main foster carer; she attends all the meetings, takes the children to family time, school, nursery, and extracurricular activities. I help as soon as I get home from work. Being a foster carer is hard work, but the love and the satisfaction outweighs it. When it’s time for a little one to go home, be adopted or move to another carer, each one takes a little bit of our heart with them; but there’s plenty more to be shared around.
“We have been participating in Foster Care Fortnight and featured in a promotional advert for our local authority, to encourage others to become foster carers, as there are not enough. If you feel as if this is something you could do please do some research and contact your local councils fostering team.”
Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council added, “We thank Ashleigh and Chris, and the whole Tameside fostering community, for the incredible role they play in making a difference to children’s lives each day. When you foster a child, you give them a chance to achieve their dreams, by supporting their talents and nurturing their potential.”
Certainly, many young lives have been touched and blessed by the Hughes Family.