Two years ago, when their two daughters reached adolescence, Sam and Luke decided the time was right to look into fostering, as a way to make a difference in the community and do their part in making the world a better place.
They contacted The Benevolent Society and began the training and assessment process, which Sam says was very enlightening: “You learn so much through the program – about what’s involved in fostering, and about yourself and your relationships. The training gives you the chance to look into your lives as a family, to see if this is something you’re ready for and to decide together if you can do it.”
Sam and Luke decided to look into becoming foster carers on Luke’s initiative: “It’s something I’d often thought about when I read stories about children who couldn’t live at home. I was lucky to have some very good influences in my childhood which made a real difference to me. Sam and I believe that charity begins at home, and these kids are among the most vulnerable people in our society, so why not start there?”
Like many of our foster families, Sam and Luke decided that respite, rather than long-term fostering, was the right choice for their family.
“Respite fostering is a great place to start because you can dip your toe in and make a difference without it taking over your life. We lead very busy lives, so we decided to start with what we knew we could do.”
Sam and Luke were approved as foster carers two years ago. Six months later, their first foster child came to stay.
“The process of matching us was really good,” Luke said. “We could be very open and talk about behaviours we wouldn’t be comfortable with. They took into consideration our children’s ages and the fact that we have girls and found us the perfect match with our regular foster child.”
They have now provided regular respite care to a 13-year-old girl for 18 months, and they also foster children on a short-term and emergency basis when timing allows: “There’s never any pressure to take on emergency placements. We can always say no if the timing doesn’t work or we don’t think the fit is right.”
“All the foster placements we’ve had have gone really smoothly” Sam told us. “Our regular foster daughter comes to stay one weekend a month and during school holidays, and she fits into our family perfectly. She’s come to the beach and to the snow with us and it’s been amazing sharing those experiences with her.”
Sam and Luke feel that fostering really brings the family together. “When we have a foster child here we always plan stuff to do together. It’s been absolutely amazing for our daughters, especially our youngest, who loves getting to be the big sister for a change. It’s made them both realise how lucky they are.”
“Our extended family were anxious at first, but once they met our foster children they realised they are just normal kids. We all get so much out of fostering. It’s fun and incredibly rewarding.”
If you would like to register your interest in becoming a Foster Carer or get some more information about what it’s all about please fill out the form here or call us on 1800 236 762.