Suzanne and George’s Story

Archived: Posted October 4, 2016

“We agreed if she could call me her mum I could call her my daughter”

Foster carers Suzanne and George BairdSuzanne and George Baird, from Newtownabbey in Northern Ireland, have been foster carers with Foster Care Associates (FCA) for three years. They currently provide respite care for a young child and have a permanent placement, a girl who has been living with the couple for two and a half years. Describing their experience as foster carers to date as ‘extremely rewarding’ Suzanne talks about their time fostering:

“We considered becoming a foster carer about five years ago, but due to other commitments and some initial concerns we decided to leave it for a while. It was only once both of our own children had grown up that George and I felt the time was right, and we decided to re-think a career in foster care. We thought we had done a good job bringing up our own two children so maybe we could offer others a chance at a better life

“FCA was the first fostering agency we talked to after we began our online research. After initial enquiries and a home visit I was hooked! I chatted with my brothers and sisters about fostering; they were very encouraging and thought George and I would be perfect for the job. My own children were a little apprehensive at first but after chatting to some of the staff at FCA and going to some training sessions they were put at ease about the support we would have.”

When asked about the kind of reactions she receives when people find out she is a foster carer Suzanne explained that they can be very mixed:

“Some people say we’re crazy letting kids – many of who have their own complex problems – into our home. Other people are intrigued by what we do and want to know how it all works and how it impacts on our daily lives. Overall though, people say it really is a worthwhile job and commend us on what we do.

“It can be challenging as a foster carer. I find it difficult to accept that no matter what you do for a foster child it may never be enough. No matter what the child’s birth family has done they always seem to defend them which can be frustrating.

“At the beginning our foster daughter was very hurtful towards me in particular, through time however, she let her walls down. We have since become extremely close and have a very good relationship.

“My favourite moment has to be when she asked me if it was ok if she called me mum! It was a very special moment for me as she had trouble accepting me at the start of the placement. We agreed that if she could call me her mum then I could call her my daughter! I love having our foster daughter live with us. She brings so much joy to our house and our family.”

When reflecting on the kind of support Suzanne and her family received, she described the FCA team as brilliant, from their social worker right through to the admin team. She said:

“Our social worker was fantastic with us right from the start of our journey. She was with us every step of the way. When we got our first placement she steered us through some challenging moments and was always at the end of the phone if I needed to talk. FCA has become a family to me. I feel like its home when I go to the regional office to chat to the staff. I love the activities they do and the events they facilitate for all carers and the children.

“If I had to give advice to new carers I’d say to be yourself with the kids, don’t try and be a person you’re not. Be honest and open with them. Involve them in any family decisions and treat them fairly. Try to see through their behaviours and see the best in them. Don’t give up, and most of all, love them as if they’re your own.”

Suzanne sums up their time fostering so far as being a great sense of achievement: “I feel a great sense of achievement knowing our family has made a huge difference to the lives of children who have been less fortunate than others. If you are considering fostering attend the FCA training and ask loads of questions. For us, it all seemed so natural to go through the process. Also remember that no matter how hard, or how distracted you get with the difficulties, you really will make a huge difference in a young person’s life.”

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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