My partner Luke and I always wanted to raise children and be dads. I am of the belief that there are so many kids needing a good home and even if I were to have my own kids I would still want to foster.
Luke and I are currently taking care of three girls aged between one and four years. The girls are siblings, with the two older children arriving three years ago. The youngest joined our family before she turned one. It can get a little crazy at times, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Going from no kids to three has been a big adjustment for both of us. We had no real experience with children except with nephews. My mum came up and gave us advice and my sister lives close by so she also gives us support. Luke stayed at home when the two older girls came to live with us. He has since gone back to work part-time.
The girls enjoy going to day care and it gives them the opportunity to socialise with other kids and learn new skills. At home, the older ones enjoy bike riding, chasing the family cats, learning the alphabet and playing word games. This seems to work for us and it’s a really good balance.
There’s not one particular memory that stands out since the girls joined our family. I think every day, when you come home from work, it’s special to see the girls so excited and keen to share what they have been up to.
Caring is not easy, but I don’t think having your own biological kids is easy, either. My advice to new carers is that nothing is perfect. Just go with the flow, and as long as the kids are happy just take it as it comes, especially when things are beyond your control. From our experience, caring does get easier and more rewarding as time goes on.
Taking time out is important so you can catch-up with your partner and minimise any strains or pressures from building in the relationship. We do take respite weekends occasionally. We don’t like to go away too often as it’s unsettling for the girls to be out of routine, and they miss us and we miss them. My ‘me time’ starts at 4.30am each day with exercise and meditation before anyone else is awake. I appreciate this time and also look forward to little voices calling me to come and have breakfast with them.
Some people do research to understand if it's right for them. For us, the end goal is to provide kids with a better life, so my thinking is that you shouldn’t have to research it, you should just deal with whatever comes along. Sometimes you can do too much research and think of many barriers, so you just need to decide if this will work for you and your family, it’s that simple. If people want to have a child in their life that has no baggage then I think they are doing it for the wrong reasons.
The journey to be a foster carer is a different experience for each of us.
*To protect the identities of the children and carers in this story, names and images have been changed