Sharon started her fostering journey back in 2020 after two of her own children left for university.
After her children left home, Sharon realised now was her time to start fostering with FCA Northern Ireland.
She said: “I started my fostering journey two years ago. Fostering was always something I was interested in. I have two kids with Asperger's syndrome, and being a single mum, I just wouldn't have had the time to do it.
“When both of them went off to university, I thought now is the time to foster. I was doing some research on how to become a foster parent when I came across FCA. I gave them a ring and then went through all the training and interviews to become a foster mum.”
Sharon reflected on how beneficial the child matching process was for her and her foster child and how more people need to be aware of this process.
She said: “I wasn't aware of the child matching process before I started. It might have been touched upon briefly in training but it wasn’t something that was focused on. I was then put in contact with the FCA Referrals Manager, Danielle, who’s job is to match the right child to the right family. She explained the whole process to me.
“In the initial stages, they look at the different skills you have and how they would match you to the needs of a certain child. They have done a great job in matching Sophie* to my family. She settled in straight away. She now calls me mum, and Courtney and Scott her big brother and big sister. They did a great job of matching Sophie* to my family.”
Sharon reflected on how incredible her fostering journey has been so far and how well her foster child has settled into the family. She said: “It’s just been amazing. I’ve been given such an incredible child. Sophie* started off as a short-term placement but now it seems like she will be with me for the long-term which is great. FCA has been so supportive through the whole process.
“It’s been great to see the change in Sophie* and seeing her become part of the family. She is just amazing, she is an amazing child. I absolutely adore her. It feels like she’s been here all of her life, not just 2 years. She settled in so quickly.”
One of Sharon’s children is still at university, but along with her foster daughter Sharon sees her at weekends. Her son has finished his degree and is now living back at home. Both of her children have been welcoming, supportive, and have really welcomed their foster sister into the family. Sharon said: “ Their relationship is so good that II think Sophie* listens to my son more than me! Everything that Scott says is right no matter what. It’s amazing to see the relationship that they have together”
Despite some challenges faced, Sharon said the rewards significantly outweigh any difficulties. Sharon said: “When she first came here she was very guarded, she didn’t really trust adults. When she first arrived, she had her room cleaned every morning, now the room’s destroyed and toys are everywhere! Those types of behaviours show me she is comfortable now and settled in.
“Speaking with the child psychologist and Catherine, my social worker helped me deal with the difficult times. Despite some challenges, it’s well worth it when you see a child settle and have a happy home. FCA has been there to fully support me. It's incredibly rewarding, every smile is rewarding.”
For further details on our matching process, please contact Danielle Chapman, Referrals Manager Danielle.Chapman@thefca.co.uk
- Sophie* - name has been changed to protect the identity of the child.
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