Expressing gratitude to foster parents
Back in September, I attended a 60th birthday celebration at the Marlborough Hotel in downtown Winnipeg, where I sat with Myrna, who is a relatively new foster parent.
I have known Myrna for many years, and she was talking to me about how much she has been enjoying her foster children. My daughter Cindy, the Liberal MLA for Tyndall Park, and I later talked about Myrna and we both thought it would be nice to recognize foster parents in some way. So, we pooled together our Queen’s Platinum Jubilee medals and designed a unique certificate.
Foster parents work seven days a week, 24 hours a day. They open their homes and hearts to provide care and love to the children of our communities. There are over 10,000 children in Manitoba alone who require help.
In December, Cindy and I presented certificates and pins to many foster parents as a way to say thank you and express our appreciation for the work they do.
That work varies from home to home. We met some foster parents who have had dozens of foster children as well as others who have had the same child for many years. Foster parents will take in two-day old babies to challenging teens and everything in between. Whatever the circumstance, a foster parent tries very hard to provide the love, support and routines necessary to benefit both the child and their home. Most touching is when you see how a child and foster parent have connected in such a way that one might think the word foster could be deleted.
There are many reasons why we have thousands of children in foster care. The most common reason is through neglect, when a child is just not provided the attention needed, or the attention being provided is harmful. Physical abuse takes many forms. Drugs and alcohol addiction play such a destructive role in people’s lives, and when children witness the damage first-hand it can be a serious problem.
It is safe to say that many children who require foster care face serious personal challenges, which often makes things more difficult for all concerned. There are too many children with serious addiction issues that if not treated properly will see them facing many challenges into the future.
Being a foster parent comes with many challenges, but there is no denying that it takes a special person/family to open their homes in order to provide a home for a child.
We should all be expressing our appreciation and gratitude to foster parents for all they do.
Winnipeg North constituency report
Kevin Lamoureux is the Liberal Member of Parliament for Winnipeg North.