Six years ago Martia and Chris Ferguson of Conestogo became foster parents and their home became one of dozens around Woolwich and Wellesley townships to take in foster children through Family & Children’s Services of the Waterloo Region.
The Fergusons will be among those individuals honoured during National Foster Family Appreciation Week, which runs Oct. 21-27 this year.Martia Ferguson explains that she and her husband became foster parents because they wanted to help.
“To give back to the community, to help others that need help, that’s just what we do. We try to encourage our kids to be kind to others and help when you can,” she explained at her home in Conestogo on Tuesday.
Along with raising with their own three children the couple has taken up to four foster kids at once, looking after both infants and older children.
“We would love to see people come out and foster children. The more foster parents we have the more support services we can provide children” said Teresa Trofymowych, foster/adoption recruitment worker at FCS.
The foster care organization supports children from the ages of infancy to 16. Though being a foster parent requires commitment, education and time, Ferguson finds the experience not only rewarding but necessary.
“Life gets a little bit busier any time you add another child into the mix you’re going to have more stuff, whether it’s school or taking them to appointments or extracurricular activities,” she said of her commitments, adding she hopes her own children will benefit from the experience of helping others.
“Why would you want to deal with that or how can you let them go? Those are the two big questions I find people ask. If feeling sad when they leave is the reason not to foster, I don’t agree with that.”
She explained that the challenge of having children with different histories come into her home is something that she her husband, kids and foster kids work on as a family, trying to reinforce rules and provide a healthy environment for everyone.
“I just think that people if they thought about fostering, its fun, you can make a difference and it’s not necessarily the bad thing people think it is. It is busier, but I think that it’s good for your family and it’s good for the kids that need a place to stay – it’s very worthwhile.
Foster Care Waterloo Region will hold an appreciation dinner for current foster parents on Oct. 24. A public information night for prospective parents on the same night at the family centre a 65 Hansen Ave. in Kitchener. Visitors are asked to register in advance by calling 519-576-0540.