Meet Esma, a remedial massage therapist from South Australia who took the plunge to become a foster carer along with her husband, Tony, and with the support of her adult daughter.
Esma has now been a foster carer with Life Without Barriers since 2022 and is one of our MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ Home Hub Providers in South Australia.
Image: Esma in her loungeroom, sitting on her couch next to a cat.
What is it like being a foster carer?
Esma had previously considered becoming a foster carer. But a pop-up quiz from support agency Life Without Barriers asking, ‘Would you be a great foster carer?’, inspired her to take the first step.
In 2022, Esma and her husband Tony applied to become foster carers, and later in the year, they were introduced to Jack*.
“Being a foster parent is better than I thought – I’m loving it,” Esma shared.
“It’s changed our lives for the better. We’re still having fun, it’s just different. We have more contact with our friends who have young kids, and we do things together.
“My daughter loves him and has a photo of him on her fridge. She really cares about him very much.”
“We’re able to say he’s with us forever now, and he’s probably more settled because of that,” Esma said.
Are there any moments from your foster care journey that stand out?
Relaxing while looking out over the coast on a recent trip to Weeroona Island, is among many treasured moments for carer Esma and Jack.
“We took him to a house on the beach, and he said, ‘This is my first family holiday’,” Esma recalled.
“He had a milk Milo and I had a coffee, and we had our beanies on and sat out on the deck.
“It was just so beautiful to be part of this first experience. There’s many more to come, and that’s really special.”
How do you provide support during challenging moments?
Esma’s role has included organising regular contact between Jack and his siblings, who remain close, and working on ways to support him when he experiences big emotions.
“He’ll sit on my knee, and he knows it’s a safe place,” she said. “He now has a future that’s full of hope."
“Walking to school, he slips his hand into mine. It’s beautiful because he couldn’t do that before.”
What would you like other people to know about being a foster carer?
Esma encourages others who have ever considered fostering to find out more about foster care.
“You can do weekend care once a month; you can do long-term, short-term, emergency, or respite,” she said.
“What drew me to fostering was the thought of children with no family to be with – that always upsets me.”
What support do you receive as a foster carer?
Esma receives ongoing support from the Department for Child Protection and Life Without Barriers and says having professionals to talk to about her caring role is “just fantastic”.
Esma also plays a vital role in Life Without Barriers’ MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ program, which creates constellations of local families supporting children in care and fostering stronger relationships between siblings no longer living under one roof.
She is a Home Hub Provider, supporting other carers, providing respite, and organising events for families to get together.
“It’s like that saying, that ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ – we create that village,” Esma said.
*Names have been changed to protect the child in this story.
Story originally published by Kiddo Magazine.
Got more questions?
Our friendly and helpful fostering specialists are ready to answer your questions. Whether you're looking to start the process, get some answers or want more information, our team is waiting for you to connect.