With Christmas around the corner Paul, has asked for a variety of things to furnish his new home once he moves on from Shared Lives South West.
Paul, was fostered by Kim and Chad Chadfield when he was just nine years old and transitioned to Shared Lives South West when he was 18. Kim and Chad become SLSW carers at the same time.
Thanks to their support, commitment and ethos and Paul’s own determination he hopes to move out and in to supported living in the near future.
“I’m not in any hurry, but I know the time is coming,” said Paul, 26.
“We’ll always be part of his family, we’ve laid the foundations for him to move on” added Kim.
Both Paul’s parents have a learning disability and he was placed in foster care as a child.
“My real parents struggled to parent me,” he said honestly.
“I moved in with Kim and Chad and I feel like they saved me, they gave me a home and I feel safe. I have a bowel condition which they helped me get under control and I’ve learnt so much thanks to them.”
When Paul was young, Chad was told by a psychologist that Paul would never learn to read or write.
“He’s proved them wrong,” said Chad proudly.
“He is aware he has limited ability, but he never gives up.”
Paul attends the Learn to Link classes every Friday where he learns Maths and English.
Kim has also worked with him on phonics.
“We played phonic games on the computer and if he got the answers right he got a Malteser chocolate, if he got it wrong I got one. I try to make learning fun,” she said.
“We have also helped with him learning money skills. I gave him £1 in change and took it to the newsagents and made him count out the right money to get sweets. We said he could only have them when he got the right amount. We were in there for two hours, but he enjoyed the challenge. He got quicker and quicker at counting money as he knew he’d get sweets at the end of it.
“We laugh a lot and we can make each other giggle at the slightest thing.”
Paul has also been working on maintaining and learning new skills and feels he can now look after himself, with a little bit of a helping hand.
“I can cook, I enjoy making cakes and can do the basic living stuff myself,” he said.
“I also have a job cleaning six days a week for an hour a day.”
“In the past he has lacked confidence to do things, but that has now grown. Paul is one of the kindest people we know,” added Kim.
“In the past we’ve made him try new things just to build his confidence like kickboxing for example.”
Paul is now comfortable and confident in his own skin and is open about his sexuality.
“I feel happy and I’ve accepted who I am,” he said.
“Kim and Chad have also been brilliant about it and supported me with it.”
They are already keeping back furniture ready for Paul’s move and for Christmas he’s asked for things to make his new pad his own.
“I know they will still be there for me when I move out and I don’t want to move far away,” said Paul.
He has achieved so much with their help and still has goals to reach.
“I’d like more paid work If I can. I also want to skydive, it would be such a great experience and I’d love the thrill of it,” said Paul.
Kim and Chad are extremely happy to see Paul so happy and thinking about moving on.
“He can move when he’s ready,” said Kim, welling- up.
“The door is always open for him as he’s family.”
Caring is clearly in Kim and Chad’s blood as they also adopted Paul’s brother Connor and they also still foster.
“It is not a job to us. What’s important is that we deal with things as a family, we teach people and they learn from it and through that we build trust,” said Kim.
Paul is definitely part of the Chadfield family and even changed his name to match them.
“I still see my family regularly, but wanted to change my name as Kim and Chad are also a big part of my life,” Paul said with a big smile on his face.
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