Foster daughter aims to reunite mum's 'family'

Back in 1993, Carol De Storm thought her life was in ruins.

Aged just 13, pregnant and at loggerheads with her family, she thought she had nowhere to turn, no one who would listen.

Even when she first met foster parents Sandra Wainman and husband Mick, she was confused and tried to run away; but, gradually, their patience and refusal to judge won her round and she began to trust and then respect a couple already well used to teenage trauma.

Later, Carol and her daughter were to become the first in the UK to be fostered as a "mother and baby" - a story which made the YEP at the time - and although she later had to admit she was too young for the responsibility of motherhood and opted for adoption, Carol remained under the protective wing of her foster family until she was almost 17 and ready to stand on her own.

And she was by no means the only one to benefit from the Wainmans' unerring support. Others had come before - and many more came later.

"In the end, I found myself helping out; it was like being part of an extended family," she said. "Although I'm now back in touch with my own family and I've been reunited with my daughter Sarah Louise, Sandra's still like a second mum. I have a home in Wetherby, a husband Marcus and six-year-old twins Chantelle and Jade now too - but she's always there; she and Mick are just wonderful."

And, as a way of saying thank you, Carol is hoping to make one of Sandra's fondest wishes come true.

Although she's now officially retired from fostering, Sandra admits she still wonders what happened to some of the youngsters she cared for - so Carol is hoping to arrange a reunion as a thank you, not just from her but from all those who the Wainmans have cared for over the past 20 years.

She said. "I used to call them mum and dad because it saved people asking questions but it was like being part of their family and I know I owe them such a lot.

"Sandra's often mentioned she'd love to know how everyone's getting on

so if I can help get everyone together, it would be a great way to say


Sandra, 62, who now lives near Thorner, was inspired to consider fostering after reading an appeal for help in the YEP 20 years ago.

"I think it was a women's voluntary organisation who wanted people to come forward and offer disadvanatged kids a "holiday" away from home and we took a few from the Tyneside area," she said.

"It was after that that social services approached us to see if we'd be interested in fostering and it just went from there. We had to call it a day a couple of years ago as both of us are not as young as we were."

However, Sandra adds: "We've never really stopped though - and I don't think we ever will. Fostering can pull on the heartstrings but we have no regrets. They all know, if they need us, all they have to do is pick up the phone and we'll be there for them."

No date has been arranged for the reunion as yet but anyone who would like to be part of the Wainman's gathering can contact Carol online at