Samantha McQuarrie always wanted to have children. But after being diagnosed with lupus, she didn’t know if she’d be able to have any of her own.
“I was watching one of my friend’s foster children and she recommended it to me,” the 27-year-old from Fort Frances said.
“I thought about and decided I’d love to,” she remarked, noting she certainly had the time to offer to a child since she had been unable to work.
“I thought it would allow me to see if I could handle a child with the disease,” McQuarrie added.
McQuarrie’s friend worked for Weechi-it-te-win Family Services, so she started the process there—going through plenty of paperwork, a home inspection, providing a criminal record check, and references.
She indicated her preference was for a child up to age six and eventually was given a one-year-old boy to foster on June 1.
“He fit into my life extremely well,” said McQuarrie. “We built a very good bond from the beginning.
“He’s my little angel.”
McQuarrie noted that not being married or in a relationship didn’t matter.
“You just have to be able to provide a structured, happy home,” she explained.
“They just need someone to be stable for them and to provide their every-day needs.”
McQuarrie admitted it was a little tough getting started because she didn’t have any toys or supplies for a child.
“But Weechi-it-te-win helped you out,” she said, noting they provide the diapers, formula, etc. while she is required to provide his bed and living situation.
“They check in on him and he goes for visits,” she added. “He’s doing very well.”
He even fits in well with the rest of her family.
“He just loves them—he’s not shy,” McQuarrie enthused, saying her family is proud of her for becoming a foster parent.
“In my eyes, he’s perfect.”
Although McQuarrie is fostering for the “long term,” she doesn’t know how long she will be caring for the youngster.
“It’s very scary having to worry about getting really attached and then having to part at some point,” she confessed.
“You will build that bond and then not have it anymore, but it’s about doing the best thing for the child—providing them with the happy and healthy life that they need,” she stressed.
She noted it’s always in the back of her mind that he will leave one day.
“It will be hard,” she admitted. “I don’t want him to leave but I know that when he does, he will be going back to where he belongs.”
And McQuarrie knows she will have the memories.
“I’ve started a box of pictures that I will be able to cherish for the rest of my life,” she remarked, noting her experience of being a foster parent has been life-changing.
“I was in a low place at the time and he has turned my life around,” she said.
“He is the reason I get up every morning. He’s been a blessing.”
McQuarrie now knows that her disease won’t prevent her from caring for a child. And if she can have her own, she’ll be able to handle raising them.
“I wouldn’t change this experience for the world,” she stressed. “From the day I got him until now, he has developed, grown, and changed so much.
“I have just been so happy to spend this time with him—I cherish every moment,” she added, saying since he has come to live with her, he celebrated his second birthday.
“It was just so special because I don’t know if he’ll be with me for his next birthday.”
McQuarrie stressed that other people should consider becoming a foster parent.
“There are tons of children in need but not enough foster homes,” she noted.
“They are always looking for people, especially for older children who need homes.”
She added people do not have to become long-term caregivers, but can try out fostering on a short-term basis.
“Just give it a try—think of what you are doing for that child,” McQuarrie urged. “They just need someone to love and care for them.”
She admitted while fostering isn’t for everyone, those who are strong enough for it will find it very rewarding.
“You just have to be prepared to build a bond and then never see that child again,” she said.
And while McQuarrie knows her foster son will leave one day, being a foster parent is something she thinks she would like to continue to do.
“It’s just been such a rewarding experience,” she enthused.
“He has impacted my life just as much as I hope I have impacted his.”