Stephen & Miriam

from Halifax


Stephen and Miriam Greening live in Halifax, West Yorkshire, and have been foster carers with Fostering Solutions for 13 years. Stephen (63) and Miriam (60), who have grown-up children of their own, care for a teenage girl with a complex disability who has surpassed all expectations.

Stephen said; “Miriam and I have been married for 42 years, we’ve worked with children for the whole time we’ve been married and we love children. I’m the CEO of a children’s charity (New Beginnings Christian Centre) and a pastor for our church in Halifax. Our children have all grown up and moved out so we had the room to offer children in need a loving home.

“It was a social worker who was a member of our church that suggested Fostering Solutions to us and after a week of being approved we had our first placement. This was for a sibling group of three that was made up of two brothers and their sister who has some complex disabilities. The two young boys went on to be adopted, and their sister remained with us; we still care for her today and she has surpassed ours and doctors expectations. We still see the boys four or five times a year, it’s so nice that we’ve all stayed in touch.

“Caring for a disabled child is extremely difficult and nobody can prepare you for it. We attend doctor’s appointments, hospital appointments and she’s even had a 13 hour operation which we supported her through. Even though it sounds hard, the children are more dependent on you and because of that you get so much more back from them. Our current placement has Rett Syndrome and was given until the age of 14 to live, she turns 18 this year.

“There are so many ups and downs when fostering, and not just fostering disabled children but with any kind of fostering, but there are a lot more ups than there are downs. We’ve seen so many changes in children, when they first arrive they can be hiding behind couches and in beds, but it doesn’t take them long to open up. You have to just support them, be patient and let them come round in their own time, and once they do it’s a great joy.

“To be a great foster carer you have to be prepared to have your heart broken, but then I suppose you have to have a pretty big heart in the first place. There will be disappointments and let downs along the way but then the good times and special moments make it all better in the end. The best thing for me, the biggest compliment you can get, is when someone mistakes our foster children for our own. When people say ‘how are your children?’ it just shows that foster children are just like everyone else.”

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