"It's very rewarding - that's the only way I can sum it up"

Posted on 09 June 2017 by Louise Carson

Foster carers John and Tracy

Blacktown couple Tracy and John Connolly are committed foster carers who started fostering over eight years ago when they realised there were so many children out there who needed a loving home.

“Our three boys were getting older and John and I thought why not?”, said Tracy. “We had the space in our home and room in our hearts to provide a safe and caring environment. It’s been the best move we ever made.”

The couple is urging more people to consider becoming foster carers in western Sydney, particularly for sibling groups and older children.

“We started by providing respite care, looking after children one weekend a month, but soon moved to providing emergency and short-term care”, said Tracy. “We are now approaching the 60 mark for the number of children who have been in our care over the past eight years.

“One of these children we cared for as a newborn is now our adopted daughter Maddy. She’s seven years old and is a lovely little sister for our boys aged 24, 20 and 17 years. At the moment we are also caring for three children – a 21 month old, a 10 month old and a seven week old baby. Needless to say, it’s a busy household!”

Tracy and John are great believers in the power of a supportive, stable, safe and caring family environment to transform the lives of babies and children in care.

“Sometimes it’s just about providing the day-to-day needs of each individual child – appointments, feeding, bathing”, said John. “It’s also important to be supportive and non-judgmental towards the parents of the child.”

“All of us as a family have been completely transformed through providing foster care”, said Tracy. “It has opened our eyes to how important a part we can play in helping these kids grow and learn while they are with us, even if it is short term.

“I enjoy everything about fostering – the babies and children, watching them meet their milestones, becoming more social and independent. It’s very rewarding – that’s the only way for me to sum it up!”

MacKillop Family Services is urgently seeking more foster carers in the Blacktown area to open their homes and hearts to some of New South Wales’ most vulnerable children. MacKillop provides all foster carers with ongoing support, training and regular breaks.

If you would like to transform a child or young person’s life, contact MacKillop about becoming a foster carer in your community. Call 1300 791 677 or visit www.mackillop.org.au/fostercare.

To have your questions answered and find out if foster care is for you, MacKillop will be running a free, no-obligation Foster Care Information Session at their Blacktown offices on Wednesday, 14 June at 6:30 – 8:00pm. 

Listen to Tracey tell her story on Hope FM 

Foster Carer Tracey Connolly speaks with Laura Bennett and Duncan Robinson on Hope 103.2 Breakfast.