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Sarah and John’s Story

Sarah and John have been foster carers with FFI for almost 6 years. They live in the South East and are dry stock farmers. The couple are in their 50s and have five adult children and two foster children.

Sarah and John applied to foster when Sarah retired from working fulltime outside of the family farm. Sarah and John felt they had the time and energy to offer care and support to children in care. As a lifestyle/occupation they felt that farming had the flexibility for them both to be fully involved in the fostering task although Sarah is the main carer. They both felt that farming life would be conducive to fostering as it was a safe, positive environment in a rural community in which children could thrive.  As a family they were heavily involved in community sports and in wider community activities.

Sarah and John adult children remain fully supportive of their decision as a family to foster. They view the children placed with them as being a part of the family and they are included in all family events and they love supporting their foster siblings in their all their activities.

Sarah described fostering on a farm as being a huge advantage in supporting children who have had negative experiences in their lives. The young people in placement are involved in selective age appropriate safe, farming activities and kept busy with simple tasks. All of the foster children placed with them have thrived in this environment. One of the children in particular them loves farming and wants to be a farmer when they grow up. Sarah would describe their life as busy but the children benefit from having a simple, natural way or life without the distractions that urban life can have.

Sarah spoke of how all of the children placed with them have built loving and nurturing relationships with pet animals on the farm and are taught to handle and care for their pets. Sarah said the bond the children have with animals allows them to be themselves in a way they can’t always be with their peers.

Living in a rural community has been a huge support to Sarah and John as foster carers. One child placed with them is a fantastic sports player and is heavily involved in hurling, football and soccer and is hugely successful. This young person has received a high level of support and mentoring from all his coaches to help manage the dynamics of playing as part of a team and without this support he would find it very difficult. This young persons’ parents are very supportive of his placement with Sarah and John and have attended matches to support their son. They have visited with Sarah and John and have always been a part of his life which Sarah and John support fully.

Sarah added that the schools the children have attended have been excellent at supporting the foster children who have been placed with her. In Sarah’s view as they are part of a rural community the local schools were smaller and the children benefited from having smaller numbers in the school and more individual attention. Although hard word and having a busy life with their family and farm Sarah said that she and John would fully recommend fostering.


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