Ann George’s Story

Archived: Posted November 15, 2016

‘‘Ordinary people like me can make great foster carers’’ 

Ann George started her journey as a foster carer with Foster Care Associates (FCA) Northern Ireland only four months ago.  Ann finally took the plunge after retiring from a career in the civil service, and says it’s the best thing she has ever done following years of thinking about becoming a foster carer and doing something good for young people in need.Ann George

Ann describes the life changing moment, which happened only last year, which made her decide to become a foster carer.  She said: “I have just one birth daughter and she had a wonderful upbringing.  We went on lovely family holidays and she was really spoilt, but one day she told me that all she ever wanted growing up was brothers and sisters. This was really hard for me to hear.

‘’As my daughter got older she gained a real passion for care, we shared this passion and together we began working with children in need in many different countries. I loved that we were helping so many children however found myself constantly wondering about the children at home on my doorstep that needed help too.

‘’I had always thought about fostering or maybe adopting a child but spent a lot of time worrying about the possibility of getting too attached. Last Christmas I hit a breaking point. I had thought about it long enough and it was time to do something about it. I knew that if I wanted to change something I had to get involved. And so I did.’’

When asked why Ann chose to foster with FCA Northern Ireland she simply replied: ‘’I didn’t chose FCA they chose me!

‘’I knew I wanted to be a carer but wasn’t sure where to start or how to apply. I put feelers out with Trusts and other fostering agencies too. I really wore my heart on my sleeve and felt that I got nothing back. I felt no warmth or connection and was ready to give up.  However, one day I saw a blog about private fostering agencies on Netmums which mentioned FCA and I decided to give them a call. Wow what a difference. They were so warm and friendly and completely turned around my previous bad experiences.

‘’Right from the first day FCA Northern Ireland made me feel so welcome. When a representative came to visit me for the first time to talk through my decision, after just 10 minutes it was like we had been friends for years. She made me feel so confident in my decision.’’

Ann explains that she is currently looking after a teenager on a long term placement. She goes on to describe how people react when she talks about being a foster carer.  She said: ‘’I am fostering a 13 year old young lady who is wonderful. My close circles of friends and family are so proud and really supportive of me and my decision to foster. Some people though are completely shocked and cannot believe I have retired from work and am now fostering. They ask me if I am mad, but I explain how much I love it and really encourage them to find out more about it. ‘’

When asked about how her first four months of fostering have been, Ann describes a moment she will always remember.  She said: ‘’My first placement has had a really difficult upbringing and because of that has a really negative perception of social workers.  Trying to encourage her to see the good side and recognising her good behaviour one day I said, ‘well they’ve got something right with you haven’t they’, and she responded to me saying ‘No Ann, they didn’t get it right at all, you did!’.  Hearing her say that melted my heart!”

Ann also reflected on some of the challenges that she has experienced and explained that things really do change a lot, when you become a foster carer.  She said:  ‘’Sharing your home with somebody else and trying to keep things tidy and how you like them can take some getting used to. It’s a big change having to prompt someone to do basic things like brush their teeth. These children and young people sometimes just don’t know what it is like to be cared for and complete basic tasks. This can be quite challenging to wrap your head around.’’

As a really new foster carer with FCA Northern Ireland, Ann talks about the support that the agency  has provided her as fantastic, from the people who do the admin in the regional office, to the social workers.  Ann said: ‘’The support I have received has been phenomenal. I have had the chance to speak to an FCA psychologist who has provided me with excellent advice and insight, as well as joining support groups with other carers that have been simply amazing. Everything is just so personal with FCA. Everyone knows your name and nothing is ever too trivial, no matter what time of day or night it is.

‘’I wish more people knew about FCA Northern Ireland so they could all realise the rewards of fostering.  It’s not about the way you look or what you have, ordinary people just like me can make great foster carers.

‘’I never knew what resilience and patience was until now. That feeling of satisfaction you get from such simple things a child does or says gives you a whole new meaning to life. If you’re considering fostering then go for it. Give FCA a call and see for yourself, I have never been happier!’’

How can we help?

Ready to start fostering a child or young person? Or just want a bit more information to help you decide whether fostering is for you? All you need to do is contact us.

Phone us

Call us on 0800 023 4561 (lines open Monday - Thurs: 9am - 7pm, Fri: 9am - 6pm)

Fostering a child or young person is a big decision so we're here to answer any questions you may have. Our friendly fostering advisors, many of whom are carers themselves, can talk you through everything you need to know about becoming a foster carer.

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Phone us

Call us on 0800 023 4561 (lines open Monday - Thurs: 9am - 7pm, Fri: 9am - 6pm)

Fostering a child or young person is a big decision so we,re here to answer any questions you may have. Our friendly fostering advisors, many of whom are carers themselves, can talk you through everything you need to know about becoming a foster carer.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Call me back

Haven't got time to chat now? Leave your details and we'll call you back at a time that suits you:

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • Why do we need this? So we can email you a brochure.
  • Why do we need this? We appreciate that starting to foster is a big decision that needs careful consideration and you are likely to have questions. We’d like to help answer those questions.
  • Please enter your postcode to see news and events in you area
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

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