When it comes to being foster parents, Chantal Coffin and Geneviève Vachon consider themselves lucky. The role, as Vachon recalls, found them. “Our story is quite unique. It actually started with us looking into fertility clinics.”
Coffin and Vachon had reached the point in their lives where they wanted to grow their family. Looking into various fertility options seemed like the logical next step. However, as they discussed potential sperm donors and began weighing the pros and cons, they eventually turned their attention to adoption.
“We started with looking into private adoption, then public adoption. There was a lot to learn, a lot to take in,” Coffin says.
Their research surrounding public adoption led them to learning more about the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa and the services it offers. In the meantime, the couple started providing relief and respite care for some families in their immediate network. This opened them up to the idea of being foster parents.
“We like to say that fostering found us,” Coffin says. “But it was still a tough decision.”
“We had to consider the challenges of being foster parents as opposed to adoptive parents. But it all just made sense to us. Why not try to make a positive impact on many children instead of the possibility of one or two ‘forever’ children?” she says.
This realization led to the completion of their foster parent application. They went through the training process and learned a lot about themselves as a result.
“It was a long journey, but once our decision was made, we knew it was the right one. It was important for us to look outside the box. We eventually just stood behind what we truly felt was our purpose in life,” Vachon says.
When talking to the couple about their experience, it becomes clear that the rewards outweigh any potential challenges.
“Being foster parents for the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa has definitely enriched our lives.” Vachon says. “There’s been so much personal growth and memorable life experiences that we’ve gained.”
Working as a team with foster care workers and community agencies has proven to be very fulfilling for their family.
“Caring for a child, working with the biological families and employees from the agency has been such a collaborative experience,” Coffin says.
This collaboration has been a motivator for the couple throughout their journey. Vachon believes that being foster parents has allowed them not only to expand their family, but also contribute directly to their community.
“We take great pride in making an impact within our community. It’s that impact that keeps us so motivated to keep fostering,” she says.