“I’ll remember my first fostering moment forever”: Donna’s journey

Photo of Elijah Cruz against blank wall
Elijah Cruz - Digital Communications Officer
Friday 24 May 2024
Foster carers Jim and Donna taking a selfie on a boat on a cloidy day

To mark the end of Foster Care Fortnight 2024, we spoke to one of our foster carers to reflect on this year's theme of ‘fostering moments’.

Foster Care Fortnight is an annual campaign to bring awareness to fostering and show how foster care can transform lives.

Donna Park, who previously worked in HR, and her husband Jim, who worked in manufacturing, began their fostering journey in 2021.

The Fife-based couple settled Kirsty* into their home and family, and can still recall the moment they first arrived.

Donna and Jim told us they remember this #FosteringMoment as if it happened yesterday.

Taking children out
Foster with us

Change a child’s life. Become a foster carer.

Find out how

"We wanted to offer a young person a helping hand"

With five children between them and their youngest son still at home in full-time education, opening their home to Kirsty meant the dynamic certainly changed.

However, Donna said that having a foster child helped to bring together all the aspects of family life.

When talking about their decision to foster, Donna said: "We thought opening the door to another young person would be a really good experience for our son."

We wanted to show life isn’t always straightforward and some children go through a whole lot of struggle and need a helping hand which we thought we could offer as a family.

Young foster child sitting in plaza looking away from camera

"At first, it's strange, but it soon becomes your everyday life"

Donna spoke about the first few days of being a foster carer:

"Nobody is entirely relaxed in themselves around the dinner table on day one. As time goes on and you get to know each other, you feel the relationship develops into more of what you’d expect from family life – the cheek and the laughs."

Young foster child visiting the museum imitating a big toy

Looking back, the couple said they weren’t overly nervous about opening up their family home.

As expected, Donna says there was a different dynamic in the house to get used to, but she felt everyone started to relax as they got to know each other.

They soon started to feel comfortable around each other, and Action for Children’s matching process helped create a positive match which suited the needs of both the young person and their existing family.

Two years on, she says "it feels like Kirsty has always been a part of family life."

Speak to your local team

We have teams across the UK so you will be able to speak, confidentially, to a fostering professional local to you.

Get in touch

Offering some myth-busting advice to others:

Donna said there was plenty of support and thoughtful training throughout the process to becoming a foster carer.

She explained: "Each day you just have to take it in your stride, the rest will follow."

Whether it’s your biological children or children who have come to you a different way, you just try to help them become capable adults who know how to look after themselves and find contentment in life.

The Action for Children training really helps. One of the main things it helped me with was how to better understand different behaviours.

Through the couple’s compassion and dedication to being foster carers, as Donna says, "Kirsty is thriving", and Action for Children are proud to have been able to support this journey.

Interested in fostering?

Contact us

*This name is anonymous.