Innisfail foster parents share their love

In nearly 20 years Tunde and Jozsef Illes have fostered 19 children

Tunde and Jozsef Illes jokingly call it their “borrowed family.”

For the past 18 years, the Innisfail couple have fostered 19 children, three of whom became permanent additions to their family.

Tunde and husband, Jozsef, came to Canada from Hungary in 1988 and tried to start a family. But after several miscarriages Tunde realized she had to find another way to bring children in their lives.

“I had so much love to give to the children,” she said. Then, she heard about foster care.

“It was advised there were 6,000 children in foster care waiting for a home.”

It felt natural to offer their home to youngsters in need of their love, she said.

Tunde said her first foster child was a 12-year-old, who was not quite sure what to make of his new foster parent.

“I was a little overzealous. I showered him with love.

“(The boy said) ‘What happened? Who is this woman and what does she want?’ ” she said chuckling at the memory.

Being a foster parent is often not easy.

“Lots of tears,” she said.

But she could always rely on a good support system from the foster child placement firm and could draw on the experiences of other foster parents, who were always willing to help.

“You could call anytime and cry your eyes out with them.”

She and Jozsef, who work with Heritage Family Services, came to realize they must take every challenge as it comes.

“You have today,” she says. “That’s all you have, and you kind of make peace with it.”

Being a foster parent means always being there for someone else.

“You have to take the ‘I’ out of it,” she explains. “It’s not about you. It’s about the child who needs a home.

“They all have one thing in common. They all need love.”

Some children have come from abusive situations or are prone to running away, and foster children do not always get along with each other.

“We had to try and make it work,” said Jozsef, who works as a taxi driver because it gives him the flexibility to be at home when needed. Tunde works at Innisfail’s Earning Learning Centre.

He has no regrets about their choice to welcome so many children into their lives.

“That’s what we were looking for, the experience of having a family.”



pcowley@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Is the fate of Red Deer’s Parsons House solely in the hands of the province?

Demolition of old police station next door to begin this fall

Fundraiser to help keep kids warm in Blackfalds

Community Warmth Fall Fundraiser

Piper Creek Foundation gets a new name

Red Deer subsidized housing program for seniors

Reveen returns to Red Deer

Presented by Friends of Red Deer Regional Hospital

2019 Winter Games will transform Red Deer: Olympic organizer

Team leader behind 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics provides inspirational pep talk

WATCH: Red Deer students take part in annual run

Dawe/St. Pat’s Run reaches 40th anniversary

Smile Cookie fundraiser campaign for Reading College kicks off

Fundraising campaign runs Sept. 12-18 for program that helps children improve their reading

‘Nightmare that won’t end’: Storm evacuees can’t return yet

WILMINGTON, N.C. — Hundreds of people waited in long lines for water… Continue reading

New bridge collapses into river in rural Saskatchewan hours after opening

HYAS, Sask. — A rural politician in eastern Saskatchewan says he’s at… Continue reading

Halifax researchers tag great white shark in Atlantic Canada for first time

HALIFAX — For the first time in Atlantic Canadian waters, scientists have… Continue reading

Liberal riding association president blindsided by MP’s defection

OTTAWA — The president of an Ontario Liberal riding association says he… Continue reading

Pope gives bishops more decision-making options

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis decreed on Tuesday that ordinary Catholics should… Continue reading

Hurricane rating system fails to account for deadly rain

TRENTON, N.C. — When meteorologists downgraded Hurricane Florence from a powerful Category… Continue reading

Glad company: Trailer for Disney’s ‘Mary Poppins Returns’

LOS ANGELES — A beloved nanny is preparing to take to the… Continue reading

Most Read