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Lifetime Achievement Award – 2015 – Susan and Gerry Holyome

Susan and Gerry have been fostering since 1980.  The love they provide is abundant and always unconditional.

Soon after becoming Foster Parents they were asked to care for a medically fragile baby that had sleep apnea.  They were originally asked to care for this child for three weeks, but this turned into a lifetime, as this child is still bonded with them, and is a part of their family.

Susan and Gerry had a strong desire to make a difference in their community, so they not only fostered, but they also joined the Alternate Care Program initially offering respite care to allow some relief for caregivers of high needs children.  As members of the Alternate Care Program they cared for many medically fragile children with both high medical needs as well as developmental disabilities.  Susan and Gerry have been required to complete many hours of training in various capacities to be able to completely care for these special children.  When children with very special needs require placement the Holyome family are thought of as a great match for these children.  Susan has spent countless hours at hospitals whether it be for an infection being managed, a surgery, learning medical procedures for care at home, or rocking babies in the nursery while their withdrawal symptoms are being managed well enough for them to be discharged.

Susan and Gerry are strong advocates for Foster Parents as well as children in care.  They have gone to great lengths to get what children need, and advocate for the best interest of the children they care for.  They have made permanent connections to all of the children they have had in their home.  They have also been very successful in assisting many children on the road to adoptive homes, staying involved and support these families.

Susan is very active in the Brant Foster Parent community in Brant.  At one time she was a part of recruitment, and would attend meet and greet sessions alongside our recruitment worker.  In addition Susan was on the mentor list for many years, working with new Foster Parents and their families who are either in crisis or need support.  She is also involved in organizing the Christmas party for Foster Parents and their families and can often be found in the month of December wrapping many gifts for this event.  She has attended Foster Parent Liaison meetings bringing the voice of Foster Parents to the table.  As an FPSO Board of Director for Brant and Brant County, she has served as conference committee for many years organizing the wonderful training and networking opportunities for Foster Parents.

35 years is an exceptional long time to do anything, including fostering but Susan and Gerry have made it clear that is what they love to do, “parent”.  They are active, connected and are exemplary role models or those who follow.  Brant Family and Children’s Services is so fortunate that the Holyome’s foster for our agency.