Happy Mother’s Day - Nicole’s Story
Mother’s Day is celebrated in various ways by families across the countre, but for Nicole Wynne things are just that bit different this year.
‘It feels surreal,’ says Nicole, who is just nine weeks away from becoming a first-time mum herself. It’s not only that, though, because Nicole also has “two mums” of her own and a mother-in-law-to-be who she’ll be praising this weekend.
Nicole, from Crumlin, in Dublin, was in care with her foster mum for 11 years, starting aged seven, as her birth mother suffered from addiction issues.
‘I had mixed emotions at the time,’ she says of moving into a new home. ‘But there was a sense of excitement; it was a fresh start, and I was going to be part of a big family.’
The move meant Nicole was now surrounded by seven siblings – all of whom welcomed her into the family with open arms.
‘They were that bit older than me, and five of them were girls. They were all excited to have me join them – I was their new toy!’ she says, laughing.
The love and care Nicole received was supplemented by her team at Tusla.
‘Tusla was always there if I needed support or had any questions about my biological mum. They were there when I needed them.’
All that support inspired Nicole to start a career in social care herself, and become a School Completion Project Worker, working with children who are struggling a little with education.
‘My background in social care shaped the professional person I am today. Depending on their circumstances, children wear their trauma that bit differently. Because of what I’ve been through, I’m more empathetic. I can use that experience to help them.’
Nicole feels she now has the best of both worlds.
‘I have two mums – my foster mum was my primary care giver – and still is. Growing up, if both mams were in the same room, I would call my foster mam by her first name in order to not hurt my biological mams feelings or take that title (mother) away from her.’
Nicole says that she and her biological mother remain close.
‘We speak every day – we’re more like friends than mother and daughter. Because of the degree I studied, I can appreciate what she went through. Now, we’re making up for lost time.’
And what does impending motherhood mean to Nicole?
‘I’ve been surrounded by amazing women; I can use everything they have taught me; so, I’m quite confident about it. And it’s a great opportunity from my biological mum. I think she is looking forward to revisit parenting by taking on the grandmother’s role.’
There are 3,984 foster carers who currently open their homes to 5,265 children in communities across the country. They play a critical role in the child protection system and ultimately a key role in the wellbeing of children and young people.
To find out more about becoming a foster carer, see fostering.ie, call freephone 1800 226 771 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.