The most challenging aspect of being a foster family is giving a child back you’ve come to love, according to Illawong’s Sale family.
Traditionally short-term carers – which means having a child for under two years – they fell totally in love with their newest addition and decided to become her forever family.
Having fostered 11 children over the past five years, they couldn’t bear the thought of giving six-year-old Jade up and decided to officially make her part of their clan.
The now-family of six is in the process of taking in a six-month-old baby who, if successful, will also stay with them until she reaches 18 and beyond.
Mum Jeanette said after years of saying goodbye to kids they had come to love, they all decided to make their plans more permanent.
She said from the time little Jade arrived they just couldn’t let her go.
“We had always been short-term carers but found the hardest part was always giving them back,” she said.
“And then little Jade arrived and we just fell in love with her and knew we wanted her to stay.
“She calls me mum and I tell people she is just one of my four children, no explanation is needed.
“It’s not always easy, she did come with some challenging behaviours, but after showing her some love, respect and care she turned the corner.
“She was known to throw chairs around in class and now her teacher says she is one of the best behaved.”
Big sister Sam, 25, who is a teacher, said she thinks educators make some of the best foster carers because they are used to dealing with children and challenging behaviours.
She said not enough people are aware that long-term foster care means keeping a child until they are 18 and a good option for those people who for whatever reason can’t have their own kids.
“So many people in Australia who want to adopt look overseas because the waiting list here is so long but don’t realise there are hundreds of kids right here in Sydney looking for someone to love them,” she said.
“Recently I told a friend of mine who found she couldn’t conceive about us taking Jade in long-term and she is now in the process of doing the same.”
This article was originally published in the 30 August 2020 edition of The Catholic Weekly, the news publication of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney. Reproduced with permission.