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.

 

In all, fostering was a happy experience, although he left the foster family as a teenager because they had moved to a small country town north of Sydney and he was bored and unhappy about making new friends.

David saved money to go back to Sydney by pumping petrol at a local petrol station. His foster mother wasn’t pleased that he was going back to the big city by himself, but he went anyway.

There were arguments, but eventually his foster mother conceded that he should go. Thanks to the love and a generous legacy from his foster mother, David travelled around the world and then went to TAFE for business studies, graduating top of the class.

Since then, he has worked in a number of fields including advertising and IT technical support. Now 42, David now runs a successful production house producing corporate videos and commercials for a wealth of blue-chip clients.

Meanwhile, his birth mother had gone to university and become a psychologist. Always unhappy about her loss, she went looking for David when he was in primary school and approached Community Services for help in finding him. Eventually they met when David was nine.

“She’s a real friend now,” he says warmly. His maternal grandmother, who had made his mother give up David, died recently and his grandfather, never happy that David had gone into care in the first place, extended an olive branch and acknowledged David as his grandson to the community.

David has been lucky. He says being fostered has rounded him as a person and he is grateful to his foster mother for her nurturing.

Today he has a beautiful wife and a little daughter. They plan to foster children in the future, so they can help vulnerable children have a good childhood.

*Name changed for privacy reasons.