Glenda's story of fostering for over 27 years
Foster carers play a critical role helping families in their community by providing a safe place for children to live until they can go home to their birth families.
In this blog, Glenda shares her experience of being a foster carer over the last 27 years and how being a foster carer has strengthened her own family.
Tell us a little bit about yourself...
My name is Glenda and I live in the South East suburbs of Melbourne. I am very family orientated, have been happily married for 28 years with two adult children of my own and two neurotic dogs Jack and Mikey. My husband Paul and I have fostered children for over 27 years now.
Why did you decide to become a foster carer?
Paul and I were just married, in our first home and decided that we wanted to do something for the community. We weren't ready to have our own children yet, we loved kids and thought maybe that's something we could do. And we have never looked back!
What supports do you have around you as a foster carer?
We started our foster care journey we were very supported by our first agency and had a great relationship with our case worker who was able to do match us really well with the amazing children that came into our care. As a young couple with no parenting experience, we were well supported from day one.
Then when we moved to a new area, we switched agencies. Again, we were so well supported, and I would say because of that great support, we have been able to continue our foster care journey for so long. We also had and still have, great supportive family and friends to share the ups and downs with us.
As a foster carer, how do you see your role in your community?
I am so proud that we have been able to continue fostering all this time and to contribute to our community by being a carer. Being a foster carer can make a massive impact in the community because you are supporting families with their most basic needs at a time when they need it most.
We all have our ups and downs in life. Imagine you don't have any family support yourself at the time you most need it, but then a stranger puts up their hand to support and care for your children at the hardest time in your life. What's more important than that?
What does ‘family’ mean to you?
Everything! When we started fostering, we didn't have kids yet and I would say our intention wasn't necessarily to keep fostering after we had our own children. But our own children have flourished and I'm so proud to say, that we have raised better human beings because we have fostered throughout their childhood. My children have learnt so much more than they would have about empathy and an understanding of how other people live because of their interactions with the many children we have fostered in our care.
What is the most rewarding part of being a foster carer?
The most rewarding part is the little things like watching a very nervous child arrive at our home and within a short time, they are telling us a joke and laughing out loud at the dinner table. The 'firsts' are the best like the first circus, the first airplane flight, the first family camping holiday, and so many others! The joy we receive from these children far outweighs any challenges.
Interested in becoming a foster carer?
Families come in all shapes and sizes and so do foster carers. Foster carers play a critical role in supporting children and young people in care to thrive. If you think you can create a safe and supportive environment for a child, then give fostering a go.
To find out more about becoming a foster carer, call 1800 013 088 or enquire today.