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 which is enjoyable and interactive, support groups and a therapeutic 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 is the most rewarding thing you can do in your lifetime so if you want to do it, go for it”
October 21 2021
Retiring foster parent, Anne Meakin, shares her experience of two decades worth of fostering.
"It’s special to be able to make such a difference to people’s lives, we love what we do."
September 27 2021
FCA’s Time to Shine winner, Melanie Plant, 44 , based in Shropshire, shares how specialising in parent and child placement fostering has changed her life.
June 22 2021
Meet Trevor and his wife Tracey who were approved as foster parents in 2015 and since then they have gone on to foster eight young children in six years.
Meet Lynne - one of FCA’s longest fostering parents
April 19 2021
Single foster parent, Lynne shares her fostering experience over the past two decades.
Luke and Danny's story
March 3 2021
Danny and Luke were approved as foster parents in 2018 and since then they have gone on to foster eight young children in just two years.