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
Sarah and Katy have been fostering with FFI for almost two years and are currently making a huge difference in the lives of the two young people in their care. This is their story.
“We had thought about fostering for a very long time before we actually did any real research into it. We spoke about it a lot and had many questions, wondering if we were ready? Could we continue to work? Would it fit in with our lifestyle? Would we be genuinely considered being in a same sex relationship? After both of us losing our Dads in the space of 15 months it helped us re-evaluate our lives. We were both working full time and I decided to take a career break to give fostering 100% as the desire to help children was so great. We read HIQA inspection reports from all agencies in Ireland and FFI was our first choice.
When I made the call to FFI, I spoke with Barry Ward and he was so welcoming. There is always that bit of worry being in a same sex relationship about how you will be received. Barry was so nice and put me at ease immediately. Barry then called to do the home visit and answered any questions we had at that stage.
We knew some other same sex couples that were fostering but not personally to ask any questions, it would have been great to have that at that point.
We were a bit anxious about meeting the assessor, but once we met her all anxieties disappeared immediately.
We had been told it was a very invasive process but to be honest we both found it very interesting and learned a lot about ourselves from the chats and self-reflection along the way. We looked forward to the assessment meetings as each one was so different. We would laugh, cry, talk and learn. It was very thorough and relevant. All our worries and concerns were not necessary.
To any other same sex couples thinking about beginning their fostering journey with FFI, I would say go for it, there is absolutely nothing to worry about. FFI made the whole experience as easy as it could possibly be, and they are a very inclusive agency.
The foundations training weekend was fantastic in many ways. We met people that weekend that we are still in contact with. We learned a lot about the Foster Child and their experience of coming into the care system in this country and the many people who are involved in their lives whilst in Foster Care that weekend. It was very insightful.
We currently have a sibling group placement of two young children. It has had a huge impact on our lives. There is nothing that could prepare you for it really. We went from having a very calm life with lots of weekends away, nice holidays, meals out, nights out, lazy mornings, concerts, entertaining friends etc etc. to being parents to 2 young children with varying levels of needs overnight.
That life we had vanished and this new life emerged. It is challenging and very hard work, but it is incredibly rewarding and has changed our lives completely. There are many highs and lows but you hold onto the highs and the lows pass quickly. You learn so much in the first 12 months just from having children in your care, also from the training FFI provide which is practical and very useful.
You are constantly learning on this journey. All the different people you meet along the way will teach you something. We have had psychology and play therapy so far and are waiting on lots more support for the children. All of this is vital to help children to heal, grow and develop into independent young adults.
Seeing the children discover their talents and develop their skills and confidence in our care brings us so much joy. Experiencing new activities with them and going through many “firsts” with them has been both an honour and a privilege.
The whole experience has been very positive so far. Our Link Social Worker has been so supportive and helpful and his experience in our first few months was priceless!
During the whole process FFI have been welcoming, practical, upfront, honest and most of all inclusive. We have no regrets. It’s been enriching and we appreciate everything this journey has shown and taught us so far.”
If you are interested in becoming a Foster Carer with FFI, get in touch today to get all the information you need to start your own fostering journey.