Lynne and Mike’s Story

Archived: Posted December 8, 2016

“Some children arrive looking as though they are carrying the weight of the whole world on their shoulders.  Seeing them develop emotionally is like watching the sun coming up.”

Mike (74) and Lynne (73) Green from Paignton, Devon have been foster carers for 30 years. In this time the couple have cared for more than 250 young people.  Since the beginning of their fostering journey more than three decades ago, the couple has always kept one goal in mind – to help keep as many young children and families together as possible – the reason they started fostering in the first place.Mike and Lyn Green

Describing their fostering journey as an experience that money simply can’t buy Lynne reflects on the past thirty years.  She said: ‘’When Mike and I were much younger and wanted to start a family, doctors told us that we would never be able to have children. This was deeply upsetting to us and opened our minds up to the option of adopting. We adopted our first daughter Angela in 1970 who is now 47 years old and is also a foster carer with Foster Care Associates (FCA), the agency we now foster with.  

‘’As luck would have it, after adopting our daughter, I fell pregnant with our first birth child and we were absolutely delighted.  A few years passed and Mike and I started thinking about our family and the future, talking about what would happen in the possible event that we couldn’t look after them. This got us thinking that in this case our number one priority would be for our children to stay together and remain as a family. It really saddened us that in the world siblings and families were torn apart all the time, and it was talking about this that provoked the start of our fostering journey.

The beginning of Lynne and Mike’s journey

Mike and Lynne began their fostering journey with the local authority however transferred to FCA 13 years ago as they were searching for more support:

‘’We began our fostering adventure with the local authority however our daughter, who is also a foster carer, encouraged us to transfer to FCA impressed with the amount of support and training they provided.

‘’Over the years we have looked after so many bright young individuals. At first our main priority was taking on sibling placements to keep families together but since then we have looked after children on long term placements – some for more than 12 years – short term, emergency placements and on a respite basis. We have cared for children of all ages, from different backgrounds as well as children with disabilities.  We have also adopted three more children, our family is always growing and we wouldn’t have it any other way!

‘’People are often shocked when we tell them that we are foster carers, saying that they could never do that and that it must be so hard for us letting strangers in – we simply let them have their opinions, as we have had the best life and know that they are totally missing out!’’

The challenges with fostering

In all their years fostering Mike and Lynne explain that they have only ever come across a few young people that they have found challenging to look after.  Lynne said:  ‘’Some of the most challenging aspects of being foster carers is the difficulty of having to listen to and try to understand some of the difficult times the children in our care have been through. When they open up about past experiences and old traumas it really angers Mike and I and makes us wish we could have been there to help them sooner.

‘’We have looked after so many young people over the years and have only ever come across a few children that have been challenging to look after due to behavioural problems. Your house has to be adapted to accommodate children like this. Mike and I work really well together, we share all of the responsibility and face any problems together. Mike now trains prospective carers sharing our experiences with them in hope to boost other carers’ confidence and encourage new people to foster with FCA. ‘’

Lynne reflects on some of her favourite fostering memories.  She said:  ‘’Being able to pick an individual fostering moment is just too difficult, there have been so many. There was a time when we were looking after two young people with disabilities, we were advised that these children would probably never be able to look after themselves. However, both children have now moved on into independent living and are looking after themselves. Against all odds we were able to help them achieve one thing they thought they never could, their independence.

‘’Other fantastic memories we have experienced over the years have been at fun events that FCA put on such as the fostering achievement awards. The fostering agency always allow everyone to get involved in their events and activities and never leave anyone out. This is important to us as we like everyone in our family to feel included at all times.’’

The support Lynne and Mike received

The couple talk about the support FCA has provided them over the years and compare the development they see in the young people they look after to watching the sun coming out.  Lynne said: ‘’The support FCA offer their carers is second to none. They offer fantastic training sessions and are there for you any time of the day or night. They have helped make our experience extremely rewarding, treating us like people and not a number.  Our support team feel like our extended family.

‘’Some children arrive looking as though they are carrying the weight of the whole world on their shoulders but over time seeing them develop emotionally is like watching the sun come out. No amount of money could buy that feeling of knowing that you’ve helped make a difference to a child’s life. ‘’

After thirty years of fostering Lynne and Mike also share some useful advice to carers in the opposite situation to them, who may have only recently started their fostering journey.   Lynne said: ‘’Fostering isn’t always easy to begin with, so our advice to any new carers who may be experiencing difficulties would be to just stick with it. It gets easier and easier and better and better. Seeing a young person leave your care looking much happier than when they first arrived makes it all worth it.

‘’Make use of all of the training sessions and support your agency or local authority provide. Not only do you gain valuable knowledge and insight from these sessions, but you also get the chance to speak to other carers and hear about their experiences and pick up on different ways to approach situations.

‘’You can’t possibly make a difference to every child’s life but you can make a difference to one life, by simply welcoming them into your home.’’

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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