Alan, 67, and Annemarie Murphy, 54, decided to embark on a journey into fostering after having been surrounded by children their whole lives.
Alan and Annemarie became part-time parents of their two grandchildren, 4 years and 6 months old at the time, after losing their only son. They started looking after their son’s godchildren as well as nieces and nephews, who they had cared for some time. Overall, Alan and Annemarie were dedicating their time to seven children.
It suddenly dawned on them that other children, just like their adopted grandchildren, may also have also been in need of a loving and supporting home and that is when they decided to foster. Annemarie told us:
“I had never had any formal experience with children. I started babysitting at the age of 11 and have studied childcare at college as well as taken open university courses on childcare. After losing our son, we had to take on the role of part-time parents and we realised other children may have been in a similar or worse situation and all we wanted was to give them a home.”
Alan and Annemarie were first approved by the panel in 2016, when they were given their first long-term placement, Jacob*, 16, who is currently still living with them. Jacob* is now waiting for his GCSE exams results and is looking forward to starting his undergraduate studies and pursuing his career dreams and aspirations:
“Our biggest achievement as foster parents is, without a shadow of a doubt, the support we are able to give Jacob* through his education. When he first came to us, he was completely uninterested in school and education. He is now a fine young man, who has finished school with distinction in a number of subjects and has attained 100% attendance. We have seen his ambition grow over the years, and he has recently achieved his NCS** qualification, where he was massively praised for his commitment. We are so proud of who he has become and constantly remind him that he is not a foster child, he is our child.”
Alan and Annemarie see fostering as an ongoing mentoring job and remind those that are thinking about fostering to always bear a few things in mind:
“As a foster parent, you need to be the best version of a positive mentor. You will guide them through many important steps and progress with them through life and into the community as your own child. There is also a lot of preparation beforehand. You need to take the time to adjust everything in your life to accommodate the child. But my biggest advice would be: as with any child, there will always be challenges.”
*The child’s name has been changed for safeguarding purposes.
**NCS stands for National Citizen Service, a government-funded course that helps 16 and 17-year-olds build their skills for work and life, encouraging personal and professional development of leadership and communication skills.
Alan and Annemarie are part of our North West fostering team. If you’d like to transform the lives of children in your local community, then we’d love to hear from you.
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