Jean is a very capable woman who is passionate about fostering. As an FFI foster carer, Jean devotes her life to caring for some of society's most troubled youngsters and she thrives on the work she does.More info
The initial lockdown in 2020 saw people take up many personal challenges including banana bread baking, to 5k runs and everything in between. For Mairead and her family the journey they went on was a little different.
Mairead openly had a long standing interest in becoming a Foster Carer. “It was something l always thought about but the pace of life and circumstances never gave me the time to seriously think about applying. When lockdown happened last March it gave us all time to think about life and for me it was the perfect time to take a chance and make a phone call to Barry at Fostering First, thus my fostering journey commenced.”
When quizzed about how her own children felt about the possibility of their mum becoming a Foster Carer, Mairead proudly beamed that “My children were brilliant and they were on board from the word go”.
FFI had to make changes to in respect of every aspect of our service due to COVID-19. All prospective foster carers would traditionally have a face to face meeting with our Fostering Advisor Barry Ward which had to be moved to a video format. Mairead commented that “My video chat with Barry was very informative and interesting. Although the whole process had changed online due to COVID-19 l was ready to start my journey.
The assessment process is very thorough to ensure that the applicant is right for fostering and that fostering is right for them. “I found the process challenging at times it makes you question things about yourself, thinking about your childhood, and all the ups and downs l went through in life. At the end of it though l took a look back and thought l have come so far and anytime l fell l always got back up and kept going. I found the paperwork and answering the questions challenging at times some l found repetitive but it had to be exactly that due to the nature of what l was applying for.”
Once a prospective foster carer is finished the assessment process their application to foster goes before the Tusla Foster Care Committee for approval. When she was approved, Mariead felt initial disbelief “I felt shocked and it took a few days for it to sink in. I never doubted myself but l doubted other people may not see my potential and what l had to offer as a foster parent. After the shock l was so delighted and humbled that l had been given this life changing opportunity to do some good in a child’s life.”
Shortly after her approval Mairead and her family had their first children placed with them. “It happened very quickly but l guess that was the best way there was no time to think or start doubting myself. We all have to start somewhere and it was in that moment for me. So far it’s going really good, there’s ups and downs but there great kids and it so lovely and rewarding to see smiles on their faces.“
When asked what advice she would give to anyone considering making the first step in journey to become a foster carer with Fostering First, Mairead was very clear “Just go for it, its a long process and you will have plenty of time to decide if this is something for you or not. FFI are brilliant there is so much support and help for everyone along the way. You get to meet great people and its lovely to hear and see other people’s journeys and success.“
For more information about becoming a Foster Carer with FFI please get in touch today and we would be happy to send on a detailed information pack the get you started.