Mum Sharon has been happily married for 39 years and together with her husband have two birth children (who are now adults) and two small dogs.
“I have been fostering for over six years. We began with Kinship Care of my two nieces, once this ended and the girls were grown up, we began really looking into foster care. When my husband retired we became aware of the need for foster parents and we felt we now had the free time to dedicate to other children who needed care and support.
We started by looking online at the options available and approached FCA Northern Ireland to find out more information and had a home visit the next day.
Friends and family were very supportive and understood the positives and negatives due to Kinship Care arrangements we had in place before. There were also family discussions with our two birth children to get their approval, this went extremely well and both of our children were ready to help and support us whenever needed.
FCA have support available 24/7, a great training programme that is enjoyable and interactive, support groups and a therapeutic fostering approach to helping looked after children in care with wrap round team parenting, child therapy and respite. We have brilliant support from our supervising social worker and 24/7 emergency on-call if needed.
As a foster parent there are challenges, fitting in some time to ourselves can be difficult. There is also managing challenging behaviours and working through the hard days, always remembering to not take anything personally. Dealing with situations that you may not normally be used to. But on the other side fostering brings so many rewarding moments in fact too many for me to mention but the ones that stick out the most would be the FCA choir competition at Titanic Belfast where our young person sang a solo part and the choir won first place. Also achieving GCSE and A-Level Results for their future.
When my daughter Lauren said she wanted to foster too I was happy and proud, I knew she would be very capable as she contributed and worked very closely alongside us fostering from the beginning. From Lauren’s previous experience as our support person and living alongside foster brothers and sisters she already knew the ups and downs and had a good insight into what becoming a foster parent entailed. We are always there for each other to offer advice and support.
I would recommend new foster parents attend training sessions, it is very beneficial. Going to local support groups gives a much better understanding and support from other more experienced foster parents who can pass on great advice. Reaching out to your supervising social worker when needed as they will always be there to listen and can give advise when you may not be sure what to do.
If you feel like you want to give something back then fostering is a great choice”.
“It’s not all about making them happy and giving them nice things, it’s about being a comforting presence and being kind. Sometimes they just need to know you are there.”
April 2 2022
Single foster parent, Marlene, based in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, has worked with children with autism, shares her incredible fostering journey so far.
“The big thing was making that decision and going with it. We’ve never regretted it, and never looked back!”
March 24 2022
Steve and Eileen, winners of the Families First Foster Carer award in 2017 and foster parents for over 15 years, sit down to talk to us about their journey so far.
“It is amazing to see what wonderful children they have grown to become.”
March 15 2022
Christie Newbold, a Derbyshire local, has been fostering for the past 3 years and sat down to share her experience and advice for future foster parents.
Foster parent, Kerry, shares her incredible fostering journey with a talented child in her care who was destined for higher education.
March 1 2022
As part of our #ChangeTheStory campaign, Kerry shares the incredible success of a young person in her care, and how he went on to achieve his ambition.
"We find fostering so rewarding, we do not consider it as a job, it’s a way of life.”
February 28 2022
Foster parents, Delia and Franz Cox, who are based in the North of England, have been fostering vulnerable children for seven years and are currently looking after two children.