FOR Jordie Martin, MercyCare’s fostering program gave her a “family, not just a home” and opportunities she otherwise would only have dreamed of.
The 19-year-old, who this year embarked on her ninth voyage on the STS Leeuwin II, said her life would have been very different had it not been for MercyCare’s foster care service and the loving family she had been connected with.
The sailing voyage, on which Jordie is working as volunteer crew, offers young people aged between 14 and 25 with emotional, physical and mental challenges the opportunity to learn to sail Australia’s largest ocean sail training ship.
She is also studying at Edith Cowan University and has enrolled in a media and communications degree.
“I value greatly the life and opportunities that MercyCare has helped me forge, including a wonderful family and the STS Leeuwin II voyages, which have been such amazing experiences,” Jordie said.
Jordie was just seven years old when Tricia and Don Martin opened their home to her in 2005, through MercyCare’s fostering service. Jordie said she had been through a revolving door of foster home placements, including emergency care since she was a baby.
“I’d been in and out of emergency care from January 1998, from when I was about six months old, because mum suffered from depression so she would book herself into hospital for treatment and I’d go into care,” she said.
“When I was about seven, Tricia and Don took me out on a few ‘play dates’ and one day sat me down and asked if I wanted to live with them full-time. I said ‘yes’ straight away and it was an easy decision because they were such caring people.
“I knew that they wanted to be my mum and dad. We just clicked as a family. It’s been 11 years now.
“MercyCare really wants people to be family, not just a place where you are going to live for a few years until you can leave once you turned 18. MercyCare gave me a family, not just a home.”
Tricia Martin said she would recommend foster caring to other families, saying despite some challenging times the rewards were well worth it.
But she urged prospective carers to ensure they were well supported.