Michelle and Sharon's story

Michelle and Sharon's story

Foster carers Michelle and Sharon Palmer-Lowe

Michelle and Sharon Palmer-Lowe

Foster carers Michelle and Sharon Palmer-Lowe have been fostering for four years. They tell us about why they decided to become foster carers, what it’s like to foster teenagers, and why they believe fostering siblings can be beneficial for everyone involved.

Michelle says...

Our daughter was on the verge of spreading her wings and leaving home. Sharon had always wanted to have more children when she was younger, and I’d not been able to have children but had always wanted to. We felt it was perfect timing to look into foster care and just decided to go to an open evening.

Since then, we’ve fostered eleven children, some long-term, and we also took care of some children for shorter periods of time on an emergency basis during the pandemic.

We’re currently taking care of two teenage girls. When we first thought about fostering, we thought we’d be more suited to looking after cute three-year-olds, it can be easy to overlook teenagers, but in some ways they often need you more. They need guidance as they’re becoming adults because it can be such a difficult time. We try to treat them as adults as much as we can, but always keep in mind that they’re still children.

We’ve fostered siblings in the past and have always enjoyed knowing that we were helping to keep a family together. It really helps the children as it gives them a sense of normality, being together with their sisters or brothers.

Fostering more than one child at a time is rewarding, even if they aren’t related, as you do see them starting to take care of each other as if they were. You’re still a family.

One of the challenges we found with foster care, is that you have to remember that the children aren’t yours and so you can’t treat them exactly as if they are. Often the aim is for the children to at some point return to their birth families, and that’s often what the children want, they are often very loyal to them, so we always keep that in mind.

We’ve been so lucky though in that we’ve stayed in touch with a lot of the children we’ve looked after. It’s funny as at the time of looking after them you don’t always realise that you’re making any difference to them, and then when they’ve moved on you get messages and pictures and you realise that you have.

One of the highlights is seeing the children make progress. We fostered one young person who couldn’t speak very well when she first came to us, but within weeks there was no shutting her up! It’s so lovely knowing you’ve been a part of helping them to progress.

We’ve never found being part of the LGBTQ+ community to be an issue in any way. From the moment we expressed an interest in fostering with Wigan Council, we were never treated any differently to any of the other foster carers, we were always treated with respect.

Before we looked into it we weren’t 100% sure that we would be allowed to foster, so I’m keen to get the word out there to everyone in the LGBTQ+ community that you can.

If you’re even thinking a little bit about it, just do it, jump in, find out more. There are so many children who are desperate for care, and you really can change their lives.

If you are interested in finding out more about fostering in Wigan, complete our online enquiry form or call 01942 487200.

Posted on Monday 2nd October 2023

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