Melinda and Ralph – Open Adoption

“Give a child the opportunity of a loving home – forever.” Watch adoptive parents Melinda and Ralph’s story, carers with Wesley Dalmar.

Open adoption from foster care can offer a child long-term stability when returning home is not an option.

The Importance of Belonging: Why Cultural Care Matters

Hear how foster carers Mouhamed and Samar from Creating Links have opened their hearts and home to two beautiful boys, and meet Iqbal, a carer with SSI, affectionately known as ‘Te ta’ to her foster children.

Foster carers are needed from all cultural and religious backgrounds to give vulnerable children a sense of identity and belonging within their own community.

  • Sharon – Immediate Care

    Sharon is an amazing single parent, who provides immediate care for children in crisis with foster care agency Barnardos Australia, and has cared for over 40 children.

    “It is sad when they go, but sometimes it can be a happy ending. We find the most amazing families and we’re fortunate enough to be able to keep in touch with a lot of the families.”

  • Denise and Ross’ Story – Growing Together

    Denise and Ross, Challenge Community foster carers, have made a fantastic difference in the lives of over 60 children with their love, understanding & support. They have also supported birth parents as well as children with disability.

    “It is about growing together. It’s about the kids, and them growing, and them being able to reach their goals.”

  • Summa – long term Aboriginal carer

    Hear Summas carer story image websiteSumma has only one sister but while she was growing up in Armidale, NSW there were always plenty of other kids around the house.

    “That’s because my mother had an open-door policy of welcoming our cousins and friends to stay for long periods of time,” recalls Summa, who today lives in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs.

    Now 26 and a single parent with one daughter, Summa realised she wanted to carry on her mother’s open-door policy and raise children other than her own.

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  • Dianne- foster carer to teenagers

    As a seasoned youth worker, Dianne is used to working with difficult teenagers and has often found a way to communicate with even the most violent and hardened teens.

    So it wasn’t surprising that the single parent from Wellington was asked to become a foster carer of teenagers 14 years ago by caseworkers at Community Services.

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  • Sarah and David – carers of children with special needs

    Ten years ago, Sarah and David* had a nice home in Sydney and a busy social life with a large circle of friends. They could go out to dinner, go to the movies or take a vacation when they felt like it. Then the couple made a life-changing decision that startled their friends and family: to foster children with special needs.

    “There are so many kids who need foster homes, but the special needs kids are really hard to place and they need a loving home to help them reach their potential,” says Sarah.

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  • Katrina – Aboriginal carer

    Katrina has always had an open-door policy when it comes to kids. As a young mother living in Moree, in outback NSW, she welcomed many teenagers into her home who wanted to talk, have a cuppa or find a sympathetic shoulder to cry on.

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  • Rhonda – immediate and short term care

    An image of Rhonda a foster carer

    Ten years ago, Rhonda, 50, was gazing out into her backyard and thinking she was a lucky person. She had a job she loved, was raising two lovely children on her own and living in a comfortable home with a great backyard in Sydney’s south.

    “At that moment, I was thinking how fortunate I was and how I would really like to give something back to the community,” she recalls.

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  • Victoria and John – long-term/permanent carers

    It was ‘a spare room and broken heart’ that spurred Victoria, 47, and John, 56, of southern NSW to become foster carers five years ago.

    Victoria’s eldest daughter, Rachael, from her first marriage, had chosen to move in with her dad and so there was an empty room that the downcast mother wanted to fill again with the sounds of children playing.

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  • Rachid and Hauneida – carers for culturally matched children

    A photo of Rachid and Hauenida hear their carer storyIt’s Friday afternoon and Hauneida is preparing a special feast for Saturday lunch. She recites a litany of Lebanese foods that will grace the table – hummus, laban (home-made yogurt), mezze (a variety of hot and cold little dishes), kibbeh (a national lamb dish that resembles pate), chicken with rice, pine nuts and sultanas, honey-soaked baklava and a big cake to boot. For this is no ordinary meal, but a special event that must be marked: the first birthday party ever for her foster son, Bashir,* turning eight.

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  • Carolyn and Daniel – respite and short-term care

    Adopted at six weeks of age, Carolyn, 40, grew up in a loving, warm-hearted household. “I was very lucky,” she recalls. “My experience could have been very different. It could have been as bad as what some children go through.”

    The mother of three girls from Sydney’s west wanted to do something to give back to the community as a result of her good fortune and decided to foster children who hadn’t been as lucky as she was.

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  • Erica – foster child

    Erica started off life in a loving, normal household, but at age seven her father suddenly died and life went downhill from there. Her mother, severely depressed, developed Schizophrenia and was unable to care for Erica and her brother, aged two.

    There was no extended family as her mother’s family lived in the Philippines and her father’s family were not in a position to take two young children. So Erica and her brother had to go into foster care.

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  • Amy – foster child

    Amy’s mother got really sick when she was two, her father was absent and her grandparents took her in for a couple of years. But it all got too hard and without other extended family, Amy had to go into foster care.

    Now 24, the medical sciences student who grew up in Goulburn talks glowingly of her time with Chris and Ian, who fostered her for several years and then formally adopted her when she was 13.

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  • David – foster child

    David’s* mother got pregnant when she was 17 and her mother threatened to disown her if she came home with the baby. It was 1968. She went and had the baby at a home for unwed mothers in Newcastle.

    Then deeply unhappy, she handed her child over to the state to become a foster child. At the age of three months, David went into a Sydney foster home and was looked after by a widow with five children. He stayed with them for 17 years.

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  • Sal – foster sister

    Life was one long sleepover. So recalls Sal, 29, of her experience as a foster sister to the numerous foster children who came and stayed on the family farm outside of Newcastle, when she was growing up.

    Though they had four children already, Sal’s parents David and Jenny, wanted to open their home to vulnerable children and give them a chance to have a good life. Sal was just seven when her parents decided to foster and she recalls being excited at the idea of having kids come over.

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  • Angus – foster brother

    When my parents decided to foster, my sisters and brother and I were full of anticipation and curiosity about what it would mean.

    I was eager to have more kids to play with because we grew up on a farm and there weren’t many families near by. I liked having kids who came to stay and who liked to play with Lego, like me. Sometimes it was like one long sleep over. I knew it would be rewarding, but I think I didn’t know just how rewarding it could be.

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  • Amanda – foster sister

    “Fostering was not a big drama. It just meant there were more kids around the dining table at night,” says Amanda.

    As a teenager, Amanda was quite used to coming home to a house full of children. Her mother, Helen, ran a family day care at their home in Sydney’s west so she was used to seeing little ones playing with toys, laughing and running around the living room.

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