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Getting to Know Foster Parents From Wenham

This local family traveled the entire East Coast before settling their favorite place to live was Wenham three years ago.

Name: Andrew, Liza and Colton Sharp

Street: Cedar Street, Wenham

Family: Just the three of us, but Liza’s mom moved to Wenham with her husband and is now just a few blocks away, and we sometimes have foster children with us.

Occupation: Liza works as a private tutor at the in South Hamilton. Andrew works as an Applications Engineer at .  Colton is a full-time toddler.

Hobbies/Interests: We are always up for an adventure - we blog about it. We like Letterboxing, a website with little treasure hunts all over the country.  We love learning and exploring. We also very much enjoy the theater.

What are you passionate about? We are passionate about justice and mercy. We have a small group that meets in our home and have been studying the book, "A Hole in the Gospel." Ut is a convicting and inspiring read. We are realizing that the greatest needs on the planet (water, food and health care) can be met, and we are seeking to find ways that we can be a small part of bringing a better hope for the children of the world and the generations to come.

How did your family decide to become foster parents/family? A friend of Liza’s worked at the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and mentioned to Liza that there were children who needed a place to stay in emergency situations. Liza was single and it did not seem like a good fit at the time. But she remembered that need and years later when she and Andrew were married and living in Beverly they followed up with DCF and began the training and application process to become foster parents.

How has it benefited you and your family? Foster parenting has stretched us tremendously. It has opened us up to many local circumstances and needs.  It has made us become passionate about seeing families re-unified. It has been a joy as the children are amazing, resilient and inspiring. And it has been a challenge as we have recognized our own limitations and long for more for each child that comes through our doors.

What is your favorite tradition? Liza and Andrew have always enjoyed setting goals together. We try and make a list of local things we hope to do each season. It usually includes things like getting to Captain Dusty’s for the first warm day of spring, walking on Singing Beach in the summer, warm cider donuts from Russell Orchard’s in the fall and getting out for a sleigh ride in the winter.

Who is your favorite local resident? Reggie Smith, a nonagenarian, was a Wenham resident for over 60 years. He gave to the community in dozens of ways throughout those decades. We first met him as the “train conductor” at the , where he took care of the model trains for the children, wearing his conductor cap. His heart is beautiful and his ability to tell a story is tremendous.

Why did you chose Hamilton-Wenham? How long have you lived in Hamilton-Wenham? Liza went to in the early 90s and fell in love with the North Shore. There are so many sweet and sacred places all over the area, and each town is unique and has its own feel. Liza traveled and lived out west, down south and overseas and still always longed for the peace and beauty of the North Shore. She returned to the area when she met Andrew and he fell in love with her and the North Shore. They spent their first year of married life in Gloucester and then moved to Houston to finish their schooling. After living in Houston together, Andrew’s job allowed him to work remotely, so they realized they could live anywhere. They drove up the East Coast ready to discover some other sweet community. But after lots of exploring and a summer in the Adirondacks, we decided that our favorite place to live was the North Shore. We bought a condo in Beverly in 2007 and after remodeling, sold it and bought a home in Wenham in 2009. We absolutely love it here.

What is your favorite place in Hamilton-Wenham? With a little guy there are lots of wonderful places in Hamilton and Wenham. His favorites are the Wenham Museum and the . We love eating at . Liza loves meeting friends for tea at the .

What is a fact about you that most don’t know? That we are trying to gather the courage to invite our neighbors to a local block party. We feel a little shy. We have really enjoyed the interactions we have had with our neighbors and would love to get to know them more.

Where would someone see you around town? We like to walk around the block or down by the canal. Cole is often in a stroller, but as of late is enjoying riding his balance bike.

Which local services and programs do you support? We are members of the Wenham Museum and so appreciate all it is and all it offers. We are regulars at ; Brian Doser is Cole’s favorite musician. We love the , its programs, its books and its museum passes, we regularly use the passes as inspiration to adventure.

May is National Foster Care month. If you would like to open your home and heart to a local child in need, call 1-800-508-KIDS.

Jennifer Flynn May 12, 2012 at 11:32 AM
Love the idea of neighborhood gatherings!!! Any patch readers have them or attend them?

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