Single mother looking for a family to take in her children receives outpouring of support

EDMONTON – An Edmonton mother’s plea to find a home for her daughters has been met with an overwhelming response.

“I feel like a thousand-pound weight has been removed from my chest,” said Sarah Vibert.

Vibert’s story drew hundreds of comments on Global Edmonton’s Facebook page. It also sent 300,000 people to her blog, and left her with more than 1,400 messages to sift through.

While she hasn’t been able to go through them all yet, the kinds words and offers of support in the ones she has read have brought her great comfort.

The mother-of-two lives in a long-term care facility because she has multiple sclerosis and a spinal injury that’s confined her to a wheelchair.

She says her ex-husband was caring for their now eight and nine-year-old daughters until he left the country last June, leaving the girls with friends who are no longer able to care for them.

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“It’s not that they don’t want to, but they’re really unable to care for them any longer,” Vibert explained. “They’ve gone above and beyond the call, but they have their own family issues right now that need dealing with.”

So in an effort to keep her children out of the foster care system, which she feared would force her to give up guardianship and limit the time she’d get to spend with her daughters, Vibert turned to the public – something she is entitled to do legally.

“I’m just hoping there’s someone out there looking for two little girls that need a home,” she said, adding that ideally she’d like to still see them as often as possible and have a say in matters such as their education.

Vibert figured a few people might answer her plea, but never imagined the kind of response she’s received.

“So many families that have contacted me are foster ready and willing to consider a long-term placement.”

That means background checks have been done.

A family south of Edmonton is among those who reached out to Vibert.

“We’re licensed in foster care as well as we’ve been on the adoption list to adopt girls,” said the mother, who cannot be identified as she takes care of children in care.

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Child and Family Services says it’s received a lot of calls from many others wanting to help Vibert’s children.

While it cannot comment specifically about the case, it stresses that its services aren’t limited to foster case. And in all cases, parents are a priority.

“It’s actually enshrined in Alberta law that we take the least intrusive approach,” said Adam Holm, from Edmonton and area Child and Family Services, “which basically means we do everything we can to ensure the safety and the well-being of a child within their family unit. And only look at those kids leaving that family unit only when every other option has been exhausted.”

He encourages those interested in becoming a caregiver to contact 780-422-3333.

Vibert is thankful not only for the offer of help from Child and Family Services, but also for the show of support from complete strangers.

“I just have to say thank you. I don’t think thank you is anywhere near enough.”

With files from Fletcher Kent, Global News

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