Loretta and Tom have always been surrounded by love. She was raised in a family of seven, and he in a family of nine.
For almost 32 years, the couple has also been Mom and Dad, to three of their own children and dozens of foster, and now grand-foster children.
“We had the room and a friend asked if I wanted to look after a child,” says Loretta. I love children and said yes right away!”
Originally from The Pas, the family moved to Winnipeg with their oldest daughter when she began university. When they learned there was a desperate need for foster homes in the city, the couple bought a bigger house with more rooms and became licensed to care for up to four children.
June 12, 2020
Families, Heart to Home
Heart to Home: specialized foster care delivered by very special families.
There have been many milestones over the years. “One of my foster daughters just graduated and on social media she mentioned she would have never made it through without the love and support of her Kirkness family.”
There have also been challenges. In 2017, the couple’s daughter Cari had three limbs amputated to save her life after a rare flu. Now Cari and her two sons also live with Lore-tta and Tom.
“We’ve adjusted. We all went through something very traumatic. Helping Cari raise the boys brings so much comfort.”
Once again, the couple upgraded to a bigger house that would accommodate everyone, including two children, 14 and 8, in their care for the past two years. “It is always my intent to look after them right up until they’re adults. And even when they’re adults, when they move away, I tell them my door is always open. Come and see me anytime.”
The best part about fostering is when a child comes to you and says ‘I love you.’ That’s a sweet thing. Knowing they feel comfortable and safe and secure around you. Watching them achieve their goals, knowing you were there to support them through it.
– OLIVER SANDERO
Even when placements end early, the Kirknesses remain in contact. “Recently, we returned two boys to their biological family. It was sad to see them go, but nice to know their mom was getting them back. We helped her move their stuff. She told us she was grateful to us for taking such great care of her boys.”
Thank you and Miigwech Loretta and Tom for being part of our Heart to Home family and making a difference in the lives of so many children.