When people consider becoming foster parents they often wonder if they will be able to handle the ups and downs of foster care. Others wonder if fostering will be too hard.
Sharon Martinez didn’t let any of those fears stop her from becoming a foster parent. “I am 66 years old and on dialysis,” said Sharon. “Most of the kids that come to live with me call me Grandma.” Don’t let her age fool you, Sharon’s feisty personality is exactly what these kids need.
Connecting with Kids in Foster Care
Sharon has seen many kids come and go over the years and enjoys pouring love into children that have experienced troubling times.
Each time a child comes to live with Sharon, she follows the same ritual. She sits down with them, writes down their name, and asks about their favorite foods.
Sharon loves to cook and gets the kids involved in the kitchen as quickly as possible. “We make a lot of homemade cakes,” said Sharon. “Cooking makes the kids feel more comfortable, like it’s their home, too.”
Despite making their favorite foods some kids aren’t sure what to think of Sharon’s home cooking at first. “I’ve had kids that come to my house, they snub their nose at the food,” said Sharon. “I don’t use boxes or mixes, everything is homemade. I tell them to try one bite. They start with one, then have another and another. Soon, they ask for another bowl.”
Loving Kids in Foster Care
Sharon recalls the children who have lived with her fondly. She remembers two brothers who lived with her for a while then went back to live with family. The boys had grown attached to Sharon and still come to visit often. They would stay for a few hours, always near dinner time.
“I’ve had a really good experience working with Sharon,” said Donna Baldonado, Catholic Charities case manager for the foster care program. “She has had more than 30 foster care placements, mostly siblings.”
Sharon talks fondly about fostering, “It’s a blessing. It makes me feel like, I can’t describe it, but I love it!”
Sharon has encouragement to anyone thinking about becoming foster parents, “Try it! It’s not a guarantee that you’ll love it but give it two to three months. There are a lot of kids out there that need someone to love them.”
After many years of fostering in Arizona, Sharon is moving out of state but plans to start fostering again as soon as possible.