Blending families, transforming lives

Posted on 11 September 2017 by Louise Carson

Foster carers Nigel and Tracey

There are many blended families but in the happy home of Western Sydney couple, Tracey and Nigel, it’s a little bit different. Not only does their family include five older children aged 16 – 20 years, but there’s an extra addition of a fun, active, happy young boy named Blake*.

Five-year-old Blake joined the family over two years ago when Tracey and Nigel, both in their mid-40s, decided to become foster carers.

“We had always talked about becoming foster carers in the future, once our own children had grown up”, said Tracey.

“When the time was right we contacted local agency MacKillop Family Services and applied to become emergency and short-term carers.

“Our first placement was Blake and we now have long-term care of him. He has made such a positive impact on everyone in our family. The kids just love him and are a great support in providing him with a safe, stable and happy home.”

Tracey and Nigel were inspired to become carers by close friends who had provided short-term care for over 50 children.

“We could see how they made a positive impact on the children in their care, as well as the positive influence it had on their own children,” said Nigel.

“It’s nice to have a little one around the house again. Our children seemed to have grown up so fast. It’s great to have the opportunity to experience it all again with Blake and he gets the benefit of many brothers and sisters happy to take him out, play games with him and teach him.

“When Blake first came to us he was very timid, scared, quiet and didn’t talk much. He has grown out of that and is now a smart, inquisitive boy, confident in himself and going really well at school.”

Tracey said the couple received mixed reactions when people found out they were foster carers.

“Most people talk about how hard it would be for them to care for a child and the chance they might move on to another placement,” said Tracey.

“But we don’t see it like that. It’s not about us, our needs, or our feelings. It’s about providing a safe, caring home for a child who has been removed from his or her birth parents. It’s about making their time with us the most caring and supportive it can be. They may stay for a few days, a few years or long-term, but at least the time they have spent with their foster carers is a positive and enriching one.”

If you would like to empower a child or young person to transform their life, like Tracey and Nigel, contact MacKillop about becoming a foster carer. MacKillop is particularly seeking carers in Western Sydney who can provide respite, emergency and short-term care.  Call 1300 791 677 or visit mackillop.org.au/fostercare.

MacKillop Family Services in Blacktown will hold a free no-obligation Foster Care Information Session from on Wednesday, 27 September from 6.30pm at Level 1, 38 Prince Street, Blacktown. Contact MacKillop on (02) 8881 4800 or 1300 791 677 for more details.

*Not his real name