Joe Swash says ‘my foster brother is family’ as he plans to take in a child with StaceyJuly 4, 2023
Joe Swash and Stacey Solomon already have six gorgeous children – but they are still talking about taking in a foster sibling, just like Joe’s own mum did. Kiffy Swash, Joe’s mum, has brought two cherished foster siblings into his life changing his family for the better.
“My mum has been a foster carer for the last 15 years,” explains Joe. “I’ve seen the difference that she’s made to these young people’s lives.” Kiffy’s first foster child was a baby girl who was born addicted to drugs. With love and devotion, Kiffy nurtured her until she was four years old, when wonderful but heartbreaking news came through – she was to be adopted and had been found a forever home.
Next came a seven-year-old boy called Daniel, who has been with Joe’s mum for the past 12 years and is now at university – an impossible dream for a lot of children who grow up in foster care. The work Kiffy has done is invaluable, but Joe reveals it was heartbreaking for his family when they had to give up the child they’d come to think of as their baby sister.
“It was amazing for the little one to be adopted, but for us it was devastating because we loved her,” says Joe. “She was like our little sister. Then Daniel joined our family when he was seven, and he’s now 19 and at university.”
Daniel – who is pictured in Joe’s documentary Joe Swash: Teens In Care with Kiffy – has grown up with the Swashes, and Joe considers him a little brother.
“He’s as much a part of the family as I am,” he says firmly. “I know what a positive family upbringing can give someone, and the impact it can have.”
Like Daniel, Joe’s foster sister (whose identity is protected) is still close to the family. She attended Joe and Stacey’s wedding, and refers to Kiffy as her nan.
Kiffy’s devotion to her charges has paid off and enriched everyone’s lives. Thanks to her, Joe has seen how brilliant our care system can be – when it works well.
Joe explains, “When Daniel came to us, he didn’t get the fundamental things. He couldn’t tie his shoe laces, eat properly with a knife and fork, or communicate. We’ve seen him blossom. He’s funny, he’s witty, he’s clever – we’re so proud of him.”
Joe doesn’t want to overpromise, but it’s clear that fostering in the future means a lot to him and Stacey. “Stacey has seen how important it is, and how we need loads of really lovely foster carers, because there aren’t enough out there. It’s not set in stone but it’s something we’re both open to. We love kids and we’ve seen what my mum has done for Daniel. We could do the same. We’d love to. It’ll either be us having another baby or fostering. It’d be nice to foster just to give something back.”
Daniel’s story is heartwarming but it’s not the norm. In Joe’s documentary, he meets children who have suffered awful abuse and heartbreaking tragedy – only to be let down again by the care system. Then, on their 18th birthdays, they’re abruptly expected to take care of themselves with barely any financial support, and usually no emotional support.
“There’s so much potential in these kids that hasn’t been tapped into,” says Joe. “Daniel is a prime example of how, when you give someone a home, stability and support, the world can be their oyster. He’s in university and he’s going to do amazing things.”
Joe and Stacey welcomed baby Belle in February as a sister for Harry, 16, Zachary, 15, Leighton, 11, Rex, four, and toddler Rose, who was born in October 2021.
They hope to foster when their children are older.
- Joe Swash: Teens In Care airs on Tuesday 11 July, 9pm, BBC One and BBC iPlayer
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