A Larne couple couple who have been foster carers for three years are hoping others will follow in their footsteps in 2017.
David and Sharon Osborne, who are foster carers with Foster Care Associates (FCA) NI, say they feel lucky to have had a young person stay with them for the duration of their three year journey.
Initially an emergency placement, this young person has ended up staying with the couple and created a really wonderful
bond with them.
Describing their fostering experience as ‘wonderful’ Sharon looked back on the events that led the couple to consider becoming foster carers. She said: ”Years ago my sister fell really ill and social services asked David and I to stand in and help take care of our two nieces. We looked after both of them for a year and continued to take care of one of them on a longer basis. Little did we know that this rewarding experience would prepare us for the world of fostering”.
After researching on-line, the couple contacted FCA NI.
Sharon said: “We were impressed with their approach, the 24 hour support service on offer, in fact the whole support package. We got in touch with them straight away, and they came over to see us the very next day, and within four months we were fostering.
“As a family we are a team. We tackle any important decisions together. Although they are already grown up it was important for us to consider our son and daughter in our decision. They were extremely supportive of us. We also spoke to David’s family to gain their advice, and they were more than just supportive – after talking through our decision to foster with them, they too have become foster carers!”
Sharon added: “If we had any advice to give it would be to never let a situation escalate. Get as much help as you need and if in doubt contact FCA. They are always there on the end of a phone call or available to visit.
“FCA NI offer fantastic support. We went to all of their training sessions and still continue to do so. They also offer support groups and phone call assistance 24 hours a day.
“We are strong advocates for FCA, we see them as an extended family. From the team in the office, to our support worker, they’re all incredible. If anyone was considering fostering we would tell them to get in touch with FCA Northern Ireland and chat to them about the process and what to expect, this way you can make an informed decision.”
Reflecting on their experience, the Osborne’s state: “Sometimes it’s like a roller coaster, you just don’t know how it’ll go. Occasionally you’ll hit a bump in the road and then things will settle again.”