David and Deb's story
Twenty months ago, David and his wife of nearly 5 years Deb, became foster carers to two little girls, Jessica*, now four and Natalie*, now three. They are utterly smitten with their new role, despite its challenges.
“For us it’s the little things” says David. “It’s the way they run to our room when they wake up in the mornings, it’s the way they cuddle into us when we read them stories and it’s the way they say ‘I love you mummy’ and ‘I love you daddy’ when we put them to bed at night”.
A successful business man, David doesn’t have children of his own and Deb’s two children, now 25 and 27 have grown up and now live interstate. Before becoming foster carers, David and Deb knew they had a wonderful life but agreed that something was missing. David had been adopted himself as a child, his three birth siblings had grown up in foster families, so he was well aware of the disadvantaged children in the community needing caring and stable homes.
“We looked into adoption in the early days for the same reason we fostered: to give a wonderful life to a child that otherwise would have had few opportunities. But with Deb and I already 48 at the time, the normal adoption process was not an option. Fostering was the next best thing for us and when we found out that there was a possibility of adoption we were even more certain of our decision.”
David and Deb were resolute but nervous as they awaited their placement. Their friends and family were supportive, many understanding the needs of disadvantaged children in the community and believing David and Deb were doing a wonderful thing. Some friends of course thought they were mad to take on the chaos that comes with bringing up small children.
“Life as we knew it was about to change. There would be no more spur of the moment activities or trips away and we would have to consider the children in everything we did. Instead of the world revolving around us it would revolve around the girls, they would have to come first in everything we did!” said Deb.
Given the ages of the girls, Deb gave up her job, in the family business to stay home for 12 months.
“At first it was very difficult” she says.
“Not only did we have the challenges that every parent experiences when caring for two children under three, but because of their experiences, the girls have special needs and challenging behaviours. This means that each week we have to attend lots of specialist appointments which, although very helpful, are very time consuming.”
Almost two years since Jessica and Natalie first came into their lives; David and Deb cannot imagine life without them and have begun formal proceedings to adopt them.
“Undoubtedly, it has been a wonderful 20 months, the thousands of smiles, the hundreds of cuddles, the kisses, the words I LOVE YOU. We’ve received wonderful support from UnitingCare Burnside and have felt supported the whole way. But make no mistake there are tears, dirty nappies and tantrums. Weighing it all up however, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything,” David said.
*Names have been changed
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For more information visit www.burnsidefostercare.com or call your local office.