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How fostering can make a difference


Fostering can not only make a huge difference to a child's life when they need it most. It can also help to enrich your and your family's lives, as it has for Sharon Brewster.

"You don't need to give birth to a child to love them." 

Sharon and her husband Ross have been foster carers with Durham County Council since 2017. Along with their two children, they first welcomed a three-year old boy, who they still care for, as well as providing respite care for other children and young people in need. More recently, they have also started caring for a 15-year-old girl.   

Offering more chances to those who need a home

Former midwife and health visitor Sharon has always wanted to foster and her career helped to motivate her to go ahead. "I became more aware of some of the challenges that children face and wanted to give more chances to help those who needed a home," explains Sharon. "One foster carer in particular who I visited really inspired me. After seeing all the good that she did and how much of a difference she was making to children's lives, I was inspired to take that final step and start the process." 

Sharon credits the fostering team for its ongoing support. "We've had excellent support from our foster social worker," says Sharon. "Starting the process is really daunting but we also found it straightforward. With two children of our own, it's been great that our social worker always looks at the needs of the whole family. This helped to make fostering a positive experience which I would recommend to others." 

'We love him like he's our own'

Sharon acknowledges it can be difficult to start with but says the family has formed such a special bond with the child they are caring for. "I think I fell in love with him as soon as he got out of the car clutching his teddy bear," said Sharon. "I felt an overwhelming sense of love and support and it's so rewarding to support him. Although there is a process of adapting, you have to take it one day at a time and we were very lucky as he adapted incredibly well." 

She also describes how fostering has helped to enrich the whole family. "When we started to care for him, we would go for days out to nearby farms and play parks. This allowed our own children to become children again as they played with him, which was so special to see." 

Sharon would encourage anyone considering fostering to give it a go. "Go in with an open mind and be open and honest with the fostering team about what is best for you," she explains. "The training you receive gives you the tools to help you overcome challenges and importantly, helps you create bonds with other foster carers. This provides you with a vital support network." 

Interested in fostering?

Durham County Council's fostering service has many children in County Durham who need a loving foster family to help make a difference to their lives.

The team offers a great support package which includes financial assistance alongside full training and advice to help guide people through their fostering journey.

To find out more, call 03000 269 400. You can also find more information and dates of future information events at Fostering.

Contact us
Fostering
03000 269 400