Meet Jacintha and Eddie
"Being a foster carer is the hardest and the most rewarding thing you will ever have and it comes with huge responsibilities." Having started as foster carers in 2009 with the support of Life Without Barriers, Jacintha and Eddie love the idea of having a large family around them. Now with a sibling group of four foster children in their home, they say the experience has been thoroughly rewarding for them on many levels.
With a child of their own (now 22), they were attracted to the idea of supporting more children and young people through fostering, and to be able to provide them with a safe and loving environment in which to learn and grow. While living in the UK as a younger person, Eddie's parents were foster carers and so it was always a part of his life.
Consider the impact on yourself and your family whilst also considering the impact you will have on a child or young person.
"I was fascinated with what they did and we were all so proud when they received an MBE in 2012 from the Queen for services to children and community," Eddie said. This life experience shaped both his and Jacintha's interest in and understanding of what it might mean to foster children in their own home. Eddie and Jacintha have always been surrounded by children and had helped Eddie's parents a lot over the years, so fostering was almost a natural progression for them. When they relocated to Australia and started exploring fostering in more detail, they moved into a big house specifically to provide the opportunity for sharing this space with children and giving them a home. Initially signing up as respite carers, they went on to explore longer term foster care opportunities through Life Without Barriers.
When asked about what being foster carers has brought to their lives, Jacintha responds, "Smiling faces, being silly and cracking jokes - that's always a happy time in our home. Seeing the children in our family grow both physically and mentally to become stronger and more resilient human beings also warms the heart. And anytime the children bring home an award from school or get a good school report it's a family highlight."
When asked about what advice they would give others looking into foster care the sentiment is unanimous, "Being a foster carer is the hardest and the most rewarding job you will ever have and it comes with huge responsibilities. Think carefully about where you are now and what type of foster carer you want to be. Consider the impact on yourself and your family whilst also considering the impact you will have on a child or young person. Keep yourself fit and healthy so you can be in it for the long haul and reach out for help when you need to."
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Fiona and Michael
Long term carers for a one year old child.
Melbourne couple Fiona and Michael have been foster carers since they were 30 and they estimate they've cared for at least 50 children since then.
Andrea and Colin
Long term care for kids with complex needs
With three boys having flown the nest, carers Colin and Andrea felt like they still had a lot of love to give. They now care permanently for two primary school age children.