Foster carers’ skydiving challenge

Sonia, Chris and Jade, what an inspiration

This year for foster care fortnight, three North Lincolnshire foster carers took on the challenge of a 15,000ft skydive to help raise awareness of the need for foster carers in the local community. Read Sonia, Chris and Jade’s stories and why they chose to become foster carers and hope to inspire others to take a leap of faith and fall into fostering.

Sonia’s story Sonia the foster carer in skydiving outfit

Sonia has been a foster carer for 11 years. She and her husband Graham joined the North Lincolnshire fostering community when they relocated to the area. They have helped to care for 38 children in total. Wanting to help as many children as possible, they felt that short term fostering was the best fit for them.

“We have had children with us for a varying length of time, from two nights to 16 months. We now provide regular short breaks to the same children. This allows us to not only provide support to other foster carers, but we also get to know the children well too and become trusted people in their lives. We feel we are like the children’s extended family, similar to being an aunt and uncle who they go to stay within the school holidays.

Fostering has been so rewarding for us. Seeing them learn new skills and develop; simple things such as being able to use a knife and fork. Seeing them flourish in many different ways including having the confidence to join clubs or take part in events at school. We cared for one girl who we introduced to horse riding. She loved it and even went onto volunteering at the riding the school and helping other children. Seeing someone learn new skills and knowing we have been a part of that is so rewarding. It made a difference to her confidence and attainment at school too as her self-belief just kept on growing. She knew we were in her corner and would support and love her no matter what. We supported another young person to believe in herself too, so much so that she went on to apply to be part of the school council. She gave a speech in assembly, and this was an amazing achievement for her.

Our first foster child is celebrating her 25th birthday soon and we are going to visit her to celebrate. We look back and know we played a part in helping her to achieve the life she has now. We were just one piece of the puzzle and there was a whole team who helped her to achieve a happy life but being part of that is something to be proud of. Our children know they can always come to us for support if they need it. We are their extended family, no matter where they live or what they are doing, we want them to know we still care.

If anyone is considering become a foster carer, I would tell them to do it. You need to welcome children with open arms and make no prejudgements as no child is the same. There are highs and lows when fostering, but the rewards outweigh the challenges. When applying to be a foster carer everyone is assessed on an individual basis, but I would say there are some key qualities people should possess. This includes being caring, empathetic and being prepared to share love and open your home. The support we have received from North Lincolnshire Council has been second to none and our fostering social worker is always on hand, through the ups and downs. You really do become part of a community when you foster.

It was a physical and mental challenge for me to do this skydive, but it’s like fostering in that respect too. Sometimes you don’t know what to expect but when you do it, it could turn out to be the best thing you’ve done. With the skydive, each jumper is matched to the right instructor for the tandem jump and this is like fostering, as the children are matched with foster families on an individual basis based on experience or skills. Like skydiving, fostering can be scary, emotional and unknown, but you can stand back and think WOW, look at what we have achieved!”

Fostering in North Lincolnshire

Chris’ story Image of foster carer Chris in skydiving outfit

Chris and his wife Sarah have been foster carers for four and half years. They already had children of their own but wanted to give something back to their local community by providing a safe and loving home for children who needed foster care. They did some research for around six months and decided to apply with North Lincolnshire council, commenting they had heard the support is fantastic.

“We have cared for around fifteen children in total and currently have six children with us. We have children of our own too and our house is quite a busy one. Children are carefully matched, so we know it will work. Ages and needs of children are taken into account and we are very fortunate that all our children get along like brothers and sisters and have things in common with one another. The children are part of our family, and we show them this from day one. When you foster, no day is exactly the same. Its fun, exciting and for us very busy, but that’s how we like it.

The rewards are watching children and young people grow and develop, learning new skills and talents. For us a big reward is being able to provide children with opportunities they might not have had, even something small like joining a club or having a family day out. If anyone is considering fostering, my advice to them would be just go for it. Even if its just getting more information and then taking some time to think about it, it’s worth finding out. You get back more than what put in and we couldn’t imagine life without our children and foster children.

I wanted take part in the skydive to help promote the awareness of the need for foster carers in the local area. I also thought it was a fun thing to do! The skydive was a short, instant challenge, whereas fostering is a longer-term challenge. Both need commitment, motivation and the support of others around you. You reach a point in life where you just have to take on new opportunities, like I did with the skydive, so if you are thinking about fostering, can provide a loving and supportive home to children and like to have fun, just go for it!”

Fostering in North Lincolnshire

Jade’s story Jade foster carer in skydiving outfit

Jade and Sam have been foster carers with North Lincolnshire Council for six and a half years. Jade’s mum was a foster carer, so they initially applied to become short breaks foster carers to offer respite when needed. They began caring for a child for a period of five weeks on a short-term basis but have had children with them continually. Jade said they haven’t looked back since.

“We chose to foster with North Lincolnshire Council as my mum was already a foster carer with them and she recommended us. Six and half years ago I was in my late twenties, and I was unsure about fostering teenagers, as I didn’t know if it would work if I was close to their age. Initially, we planned to foster younger children aged up to thirteen. We stepped up and provided a home to a sixteen-year-old, feeling like we should give it a try and see how it goes. That was the right decision for us as we have cared for teenagers ever since. We have an excellent fostering social worker who provides support and advice if we ever need it, and this really helps.

The relationship we have developed with the children and young people we have cared for makes it all worthwhile. The relationship they have with our son is amazing to see too. He considers them to be his family and he calls them his sisters. He has grown up around fostering, as we fostered before he was born, so it is part of normal life for him.
It takes everything you’ve got to be a foster carer and you need to be dedicated if you are going to do this. If you go into fostering whole heartedly then you will get everything you could hope for. You need to give it everything you’ve got to get everything you want in return.

I must be crazy for agreeing to do a skydive. I have always wanted to do it but never got around to it. The opportunity presented itself and I thought why not go for it if it gets the message out there about the great job foster carers do. It’s a big challenge, but then again so is fostering and I have no regrets at all about that, its one of the best decisions we have made and don’t plan on stopping any time soon.”

Fostering in North Lincolnshire


If you would like to find out more information about fostering, contact our friendly team at North Lincolnshire Council via our contact form below or on 01724 -297000, email us at fostering@northlincs.gov.uk or join one of our fostering information events.