After 10 years of building a happy life together, Tim and Shaun decided to open their family to a young person in need.
“As we entered our thirties we were surrounded by children in our network, our friends and families were having kids and we felt that we could be a part of that too,’’ says Tim.
“We have our own home, and a good life, and we wanted to share our family with someone who didn’t have the same opportunities.’’
So just over a year ago, after a couple of stints as respite carers, Tim and Shaun welcomed Thomas* into their home.
“He is an amazing kid,’’ says Tim. “We have invested a lot of time and effort but it has definitely been worth it. Looking after kids can be challenging, but for us, it is really important we do all we can to give a child the best start to life.’’
Like anyone looking after children for the first time, the early days were a steep learning curve.
“We have been really well supported by Anglicare and DHHS (the Department of Health and Human Services),’’ says Tim.
“In the early days we had so many questions and would ring up every second day but as Thomas settled into school and our home we did not need as much support, although we still have a regular meeting with our Anglicare caseworker every fortnight.
“It is great to help turn someone’s life around and change their future – to help them remould their experience of a family and help them settle into school and a stable place.’’
After his first year of fostering Tim says there needs to be more recognition of the role of foster carers, and the difference they can make.
“It is something you need to be absolutely committed to, as foster carers can really change a child’s life.’’
*Names and details have been changed for privacy reasons.