Today, we’re celebrating Fiona McInally! Fiona is a certified babysitter as well as a paperwork guide. She is also fully plugged into a kinship family and supports them whole-heartedly.
1. Tell us a little about yourself! What is your name, where are you from, and how did you become familiar with Fostering Hope Austin and its mission?
My name is Fiona McInally. I was born and raised in Scotland, but as the saying goes “I got to Texas as fast as I could”. We are an adoptive family and are blessed to have continued contact with both of our teenager’s birth families. Understanding childhood trauma and its effects are so important for all of us and I was excited to learn of Fostering Hope’s commitment to equipping professionals and families with valuable trauma training.
2. Why did you start volunteering with Fostering Hope Austin? How has your volunteer work with us translated into you helping others?
I have always had a heart for children from hard places, but did not believe that fostering was right for our family so I was looking for another way to get involved and provide support. I heard of Fostering Hope’s babysitting certification and their need for volunteers to act as paperwork guides for individuals who were seeking certification. Once I got involved, I knew that I too wanted to get certified to babysit for foster families. I have since had the privilege of supporting families who are going above and beyond and helping them get some well-needed date nights and sanity breaks!
3. Why do you keep volunteering with us?
I love the work that Fostering Hope is doing to build communities of support by reaching out to the churches and equipping families to be the caring loving adults that children from hard places need us to be. These children need the adults in their lives whether they be family, professionals or volunteers, to love them, and provide healthy support, and nurturing so that they can thrive. There are so many children here in Central Texas that are not getting that much-needed support.
4. How has volunteering positively impacted your life?
I was blessed to have the opportunity to support a Grandmother who had taken in six of her grandchildren from foster care. Together with other certified babysitters we formed “Team Beverly”. You quickly realize that when you reach out to help a family that is parenting children from hard places you end up learning and experiencing deep joy and connection – you always receive more than you give.
5. Why do you think it’s important for people to volunteer their time to support those in the fostering or adoption space? Any practical tips for those who want to get involved helping others but aren’t sure how to get started?
There is no question we need many more well trained and equipped foster families, and if you are interested in this, please don’t hesitate to explore this. But for many families who already have their hands full, and where fostering is not an option, there are many more ways to help. You can provide babysitting, or a weekly meal, help grocery shop or provide other support for foster families. You can also mentor children at school or help them with sports or music. You don’t have to be the primary caretaker in a child’s life to be the one person that makes a difference in the healing of their trauma or helping them build lifesaving resiliency. You can show up lovingly and consistently in many other ways. We can all do something to collectively build a loving and caring community for these children from hard places.
Thank you Fiona for all you do!