From zero to 100 with no looking back

Posted on 15 June 2017 by Rachel Dale

Girls running in a field of tulips

Eighteen months ago, Peta had no intention of becoming a foster carer. The epiphany came when she split up from her partner and realised she wanted children in her life. With so many children in need of loving homes, foster caring felt like a natural choice.

Many single people are unaware they can become foster carers; that they don’t have to be in a couple or family living situation. Once she realised being single did not make her ineligible, Peta’s mind was made up and she started on the journey of becoming an accredited carer.

Becoming a foster carer is not an overnight process. From the first enquiry to welcoming a child into the home can take anywhere between three and nine months. During this time, Peta undertook interviews, assessments and training.  

Fast forward to today: Peta has been caring for two sisters, aged seven and nine, for about a year. Her life changed dramatically when she received the phone call to take the girls. She went from zero to 100 overnight and to this day has no regrets.

Peta is the first to acknowledge the hard work involved – but also that she’s never been happier. “Getting up and seeing the smiles on the girls’ faces, it just makes it all worthwhile. I wouldn’t change it for the world!”

When Peta describes a routine day in her house today, I can’t help but feel in awe of the love and energy she pours into caring for these two girls. I try to tell her how inspired I feel, but she humbly dismisses the compliment.

“What I do isn’t amazing; what the girls do is amazing. That they can smile and laugh even after what they’ve been through is incredible.”

Many children in foster care have experienced trauma through no fault of their own. These children need care, love and patience to heal. Foster caring is a powerful way to provide this environment for children, so they can overcome the past and create hope for the future.

At MacKillop, our foster carers are supported to learn about and respond to challenging behaviours through training in our trauma-informed model, Sanctuary. This training provides information on how trauma impacts children and young people, and provides practical tools to use in the home.

I ask Peta how she copes with the challenges that foster caring brings and whether the rewards stack up. She says it’s a no-brainer.

“People said foster caring was the most rewarding thing they’d ever done, but I didn’t really understand. It was only after I became a foster carer that I realised how wonderful it is.”

Peta is one of thousands of foster carers across Australia. They come from enormously diverse backgrounds, but what brings them together is their incredible passion and commitment to caring for vulnerable children. Their love, quite literally, transforms lives.

Join Peta and MacKillop Family Services in transforming the lives of children and young people in care. Call 1300 791 677 or visit www.mackillop.org.au/fostercare.