Deirdre and Willie’s Story
Deirdre, her husband Willie and their three children have been fostering with FFI since 2007. During this time they have cared for 15 children and young people.
Deirdre says, “I was at home full time caring for my own three children and also doing some child-minding when I saw the FFI advert in the local paper looking for foster carers. It was something I had always been interested in doing but I didn’t know what was involved when I called.
That was at the end of 2006 and since then we’ve gone on to foster 15 children and young people. Some children have only needed to stay with us for a few weeks and some stayed with us for years. They were all different ages and they had different needs. In the beginning I thought we were going to save the world! However, the reality was that young people we’ve fostered have done more for us as a family than we could have ever imagined.
We were anxious about how fostering would impact on our own children when we started and we didn’t think about all the positives that young people bring to a household. Don’t get me wrong, there have been challenges along the way as well. When a placement begins, it can be an unsettling time for everyone in the house. What we do is ensure that each child, birth and fostered, has their own space in the family and that this is protected.
We plan and prepare for each new placement with our children. We talk it through together as a family because we all foster, it is not just something Willie and I do, we are a family who fosters. Something the children do is write letters to the prospective children telling them how much they are looking forward to sharing their home with them. This can make the move to a strange house with new people a lot easier for a child if they know that the other children in the house want them to be there.
The most rewarding thing about fostering is seeing the potential in children that was sometimes overlooked when they were younger. It is a real privilege to see this potential blossom through nurturing and support and for them to reach a target that they would previously never have dreamt of. There is great satisfaction in opening your home and heart to young people in need of support.