“One of the most important points to remember about fostering is that the child could go back to their family at any time. Some children may stay for years or just a few weeks. When I was being assessed to be a Foster Parent I was told that I would find fostering difficult, as I had never experienced loss. But I think not having children is a huge loss, because you grieve the unknown. I always wanted my own family, but I met my husband late in life. We were both in our 40’s, but we were determined to try everything, even IVF. Unfortunately, it didn’t work and we were devastated. In Ireland, people who can’t have children usually choose foreign adoption, because very few children come up for adoption. We’ve heard of couples adopting from China, Mexico or Russia, but this process can take up to ten years to complete. From working in frontline disability services since the ’90s, I was aware of the number of Irish children that needed foster care. It felt pointless waiting years to adopt from abroad, so we chose to foster. In the last eight years, we have fostered seven children. It is a great experience, but often challenging. You must understand that these children don’t want to be fostered. It doesn’t matter how bad their situation was, all they want is to go back to their biological family. Bonding with foster children can take time and can be hard work, but eventually, you see them beginning to thrive. They may do better in school. They would come home so excited to tell us about the match they won or the friends they made. They may even start referring to you as mam and dad. When you’re fostering, these are some of the greatest moments you will have. I always say, in life, it’s better to regret the things you did and not the things you didn’t do. If things don’t work out, at least you know. You may only have one chance in life and if you decide not to do it, you will never know what you’ve missed, and I think that’s a lot harder to live with.”
This post was highlighted by @irish-foster-care-association as part of the annual Fostering Fortnight campaign to raise awareness and understanding of foster care in Ireland.
The Irish Foster Care Association’s annual campaign takes place from 2nd – 15th March. Fostering Fortnight highlights the valuable contributions made in fostering families every day. It is a chance for all those involved in fostering, and the communities that support them to tell their stories and share their experiences. To find out more about Fostering Fortnight and the Irish Foster Care Association visit www.ifca.ie