Every Foster Carer has a different story about how they came to care. Sandra and Trev share how becoming Foster Carers in their mid-fifties changed their lives for the better.
Sandra and Trev chose not to have any kids of their own when they were engaged to be married. This is their story of how now, in their mid-fifties, they found themselves caring for children, which led them on a journey to reinvigorating their lives.
"Our friend’s daughter was a patient at Children’s Hospital Queensland. We once stood in for him while his little girl underwent a procedure. Something big happened that day as we saw the little one go through what she did. She held our hands and trusted us both so much while she tried to be brave. It brought out the protective side in Trev and I.
"Soon after this, I talked to Trev about becoming Foster Carers. On the drive to visit my new nephew (who I also blame for our wish to become Carers), I saw a billboard that asked, “Life Without Barriers – can you become a Foster Carer?”
"'I don’t know,' I thought, 'but I’d sure like to see if I have what it takes.'
"I was hesitant to jump straight into foster care because I didn’t have parenting experience. So I became a nanny for a few months to gain some experience.
"Being a nanny was where ‘the rubber hit meets the road’ for me. Those kids taught me a lot. I learnt to manage sibling rivalry, how to be more patient – and how physically unfit I was.
"At the end of six months, the boys were still alive and thriving, and so was I. This experience gave me the confidence to become a Foster Carer. Trev and I took the plunge and started our foster care training at Life Without Barriers. The trauma-informed foster care approach was new to us - we found it so interesting. We learnt about the Circle of Security and were taught many other helpful things to assist us in our new role in life.
"We were connected with Life Without Barriers Carer support person, Ann, who helped us navigate Child Safety Queensland’s requirements, organising a child’s visits with parents (often called ‘contact’) and how we could best respect a child’s cultural background.
"We were very lucky to have Ann at the start of our fostering journey because I am sure she is one of the best at what she does."
"While with us, Ann was thorough, knowledgeable, and thoughtful. She was our mainstay for a number of years and helped us through some tricky situations. Ann often went above and beyond – it was obvious that she genuinely cared for the kids and for us as Carers. We will forever be grateful for all Ann did for us and our little ones.
"Trev and I have now been Carers for over five years. We have had a child permanently placed in our care for four years, and provided emergency and respite care for babies, children and teens."
Image: Photo of Sandra and her nephew.
"In 2020, I decided to go back to work. If other parents can raise kids and work, so can we. I trained to be a support worker at Children’s Hospital Queensland. Now Trev works from home during the day as a Computer Engineer/ Programmer, and I work at night caring for critically ill children.
"Things can get a little busy and stressful at times, but we are absolutely living our best lives."
"We have found that one of the secrets to staying young at heart is to give your heart to young ones in care."
You can follow Sandra’s foster care journey in her blog, Elixir of Youth, where she shares her experience and advice about being a Foster Carer.
Eight frequently asked questions about foster care in Australia
How to become a carer in Australia can seem confusing, let's break it down!
Remembering the National Foster and Kinship Carer Conference 2023...
Our carers and staff led four sessions in front of a record number of delegates.