I always knew one day I’d be a foster carer. Early in my Carer I was working with young people who lived in a group residential unit and what left a deep impression on me was the realisation that children should grow up in a family environment. But I was in my early 20’s and wanted to have a family first, I wanted to settle down and when my own kids were old enough, I would look into it.
And 20 years later here I am. My husband and I have been fostering with OzChild for three years. And our three kids were part of the journey right from the beginning, it was important to us that they wanted this as much as we did, and we wanted them to be part of our little foster team.
We’ve cared for newborn babies, toddlers and children aged up to 10. We were terrified before the first child arrived and full of adrenalin, what would it be like? How would we feel? How would the child feel, and our own children? We had all talked about it a lot, but now it was actually happening.
We had about an hour’s notice, but we were prepared, we had a bed, a cot, some clothes, and some other basics. What we weren’t so prepared for was just how little some kids arrive with. Some arrive with just the clothes on their back, and then there are others who arrive with their entire life just one blue Ikea bag.
When we welcomed the first child into our home, I just had an overwhelming urge to want to protect him. I wanted him to feel safe, and I desperately wanted him to have a rosy, happy ending.
Thinking back to that time I know we couldn’t have got through it without the support of our case manager and the afterhours support available, and I know the amazing training we received at the beginning prepared us for that day.