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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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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“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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