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”.
“I wasn’t going to give up on him, no matter what”
October 20 2023
Celia was determined to give her foster child the best life she could, she said: “Lewis* came from a really difficult background, things were tough. But I wasn’t going to give up on him, no matter what.”
"Thinking about fostering? Our advice: just do it!"
October 16 2023
We caught up with foster parent Angie who has been fostering with us since 2015 along with husband Paul. She shared with us their fostering story…
“Moving to FCA was one of the best things I ever did, I can’t recommend them enough”
September 18 2023
Meet foster parent Georgia from Newcastle who started fostering at 24. She shares her fostering highlights after she recently transferred to FCA from a local authority. Now with her partner, the couple look after a sibling group of two.
“FCA are fantastic with all the events and activities for children of all ages”
September 14 2023
Lesley has been fostering with FCA for over 10 years, and has made a huge difference to the lives of two siblings who have been with her long term. She shares all about the support she’s received from FCA over the past decade.
“I’ve only got good things to say about the support, there is always someone at the end of the phone - day or night.”
September 1 2023
Meet foster parent Elaine who has been fostering for nearly a decade. She shares her advice to those thinking about fostering, and the first-class support she’s received from FCA throughout her journey.