A ONE year old child unable to live with her biological parents will be surrounded by a loving foster family this Christmas as they share their first festive season together.
Limestone Coast parents Brooke and Mark have extended their family of four boys, including four-year-old Harry, seven-year-old Charlie and two older sons of Mark’s, by welcoming the young girl.
She was matched with the family through country agency ac.care, which was seeking a safe and nurturing home environment for the child under a long-term arrangement.
Brooke said the extended family welcomed the news of her arrival and looked forward to sharing Christmas, and many other occasions, with an additional child.
SISTER FOR CHRISTMAS: Mount Gambier brothers Charlie and Harry have welcomed a foster sister into their home recently and are looking forward to spending their first Christmas together.
“We love Christmas and it's always an important event for our family, but I think having that extra one, the first girl in our immediate family, will just make it perfect,” Brooke said.
“She'll play and be so excited with the boys in the morning and that time with family I think will be really great - celebrating with a baby is always really exciting.”
Mark added that their own parents also “doted on” the new member of the family as foster grandparents and loved sharing time together.
The child’s biological parents also maintain a relationship with the young girl and her foster family, including periodic visits.
Brooke and Mark were inspired by other foster carers and were happy to share their story in the hope more people may consider opening their hearts and homes to young people in need of safe homes.
“We had some family friends who had gone through the process to become foster carers and they were quite inspirational,” Brooke said.
She said it took around 12 months from the couple’s initial inquiry with ac.care, followed by assessment and training processes, through to suitable placement matching and the arrival of their foster daughter, who is expected to remain in their care until she becomes an adult.
“It was definitely, definitely worth the wait,” Brooke said.
“The boys have been really good - they love her. They spend lots of time playing, spending time together and they now understand the process of foster care and are really happy to share that with their friends as well.”
Brooke works at a kindergarten and welcomed access to 20 weeks of foster carer leave to help the young child transition into the family home.
“Spending that time with her has been really valuable,” she explained.
“It definitely made it easier for us to go through that process and she has been very much a part of our family from the word go, which has been amazing.”
Mark encouraged other people in regional South Australia who had considered becoming foster carers to contact ac.care and discuss their suitability.
“When we've got her with us out and about in town and introduce her to people as our foster daughter, so many people come up and say ‘oh, we've really thought about becoming carers’ and it would be great to see more people take the next step,” he said.
More information about foster care is available at accare.org.au, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1300 ACCARE (1300 222 273) during business hours.