Sherryn and Veijo
"These children have a family and it’s important for them to remain connected and understand where they’re from."
Meet Sherryn and Veijo
Sherryn and Veijo have been married for over 20 years and until very recently lived life in the fast lane. Veijo was an executive chef in a fine dining establishment, working very long hours including nights and weekends, and Sherryn had a successful career in management which required extensive travel.
However Sherryn and Veijo always knew in the back of their minds that when life slowed down a little, they would open their homes to children. Sherryn had grown up in a big family and her mum was a foster carer, so she was used to having lots of children around.
That opportunity came around five years ago when Veijo took a 9-5 job and Sherryn got a job in sales where she was about to work from home.
They now care for an 11 year old boy who has been with them for four years and are respite carers for his brother and sister.
"He was our very first [primary] placement and we’ve had him ever since," Sherryn said.
"He came to us after having more than 10 homes. He had a lot of labels and diagnoses, but we’ve been able to work with his paediatrician very closely, and he’s gone from strength to strength!" Sherryn boasted. "He’s a school leader, he’s represented his school in sport, he’s in the school band – he’s incredible!" This young man is clearly destined for great things.
Sherryn and Veijo are particularly proud of how they have been able to bring the boy’s family together. They do respite care for his brother and sister, and arrange for them all to see their mother over and above the mandated contacted visits.
"These children have a family and it’s important for them to remain connected and understand where they’re from... we strongly believe and support this."
It’s just recently that the boy’s sister has had respite care from Sherryn and Veijo. "For his younger sister to join us this year has been a new thing and we’ve been able to watch him flourish... that has been a real highlight for us."
Foster caring has been a huge change for Sherryn and Veijo. "Transitioning from a childless executive home... we are now a family with children and routine is very important. We can no longer just go on overseas holidays on a whim!" they said.
"But that adjustment and challenge has been far outweighed by the rewards. We now do things that are just as fun, but include children."
There have been a lot of highlights, but of course there have also been some tough times. "We’ve had a few challenges! We’ve learnt to be resilient and it helps that we are absolutely committed and persistent," Sherryn said.
"If you are considering foster caring, I encourage you to go into it with your eyes and heart wide open. Spend as much time as possible with other foster carers, ask lots of questions, inform yourself and be patient. Practice patience, empathy and understanding – all those qualities you think you’ll need, and you absolutely do."
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.
Long-term care for kids of all ages
Barbara is an Aboriginal woman who has a background in disability and mental health nursing. Barbara has been a long-term foster carer for a young person with disability.