When Dominic McPike’s parents told him he’d be getting a new brother, it was something of a shock.
But now, four years later Dominic and his family couldn’t imagine life without Jake.
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Cuddles on the sofa after breakfast and hours spent playing on the trampoline are some of Dominic’s favourite things to do with Jake.
Four years ago the McPike family fostered 11-year-old Jake, who has complex needs including autism and epilepsy.
Mum Amanda, dad Stuart, sister Kathryn, 18, and Dominic work as a team to provide his care and have given Jake the nurturing home he needs.
Dominic, 11, said: “I enjoyed getting to know what it is like to have a brother. It was hard at first because he was shy and I think he was scared.
“It was completely new to me and completely new to him but I loved it.”
When he first came to live with the family Jake couldn’t make eye contact but his special bond with Dominic has helped him to come out of his shell and he is now thriving.
Dominic added: “He has changed so much, he is much more confident. He loves his food. The biggest problem we have is keeping him out of the kitchen!
“I like going for walks with him and I love to cuddle with him in the morning. When we’ve had breakfast he’ll lie down next to me and we will fall asleep on each other.”
Dominic’s mum Amanda says his patience and understanding is brilliant and he’s now even considering fostering his own family or becoming a teacher when he’s older.
Dominic said: “I just love helping people. I might be a teacher when I’m older, so I can help other people with additional needs. It’s so rewarding to see the smile on his face when he’s happy.
“I learn things from him too. Not all children are as lucky as me. Jake didn’t ask to have special needs but he’s living with it and I think he’s doing a good job with it.”
Wanting to share his experience with others, Dominic is supporting this year’s Foster Care Fortnight, which began yesterday and runs until May 26, in the hope other families will consider fostering a child.
James Winterbottom, director for children’s services at the council, said: “Dominic is such an inspirational child with a big heart. It is amazing to see how rewarding fostering has been for the McPike family.
“We desperately need more foster carers to support our children in care and would urge anyone to get in touch if they think they could provide a loving, safe home to a child.”
Through The Deal for Foster Carers, Wigan Council is committed to ensuring foster carers have the right training and support so they can provide the best home for our young people.
If you could make a difference to a child’s life and want to find out more about fostering visit www.wigan.gov.uk/fostering or call 01942 487200.