The love is different - a positive different

Posted on 14 September 2017 by Louise Carson

Foster carers Emma and Adam

Kiama Downs couple Emma and Adam work as a registered nurse and an Aboriginal mental health care professional. They are also long-term foster parents to Brittany (name changed) who is four years old. They have a seven year old biological daughter called Caitilin. 

Emma and Adam are married and live in the Shoalhaven region of NSW. They believe that working as medical professionals gives them both an insight into what can happen when children do not grow up in safe and loving homes and that there are always a multitude of factors that lead to a child being placed in foster care. Adam shares their story.

What made you become foster carers?

We have both wanted to be foster carers since we were children. My parents looked after a little girl when I was about six years old and I remember thinking even then that it was a pretty cool thing to do. It just stuck with me.

Emma’s parents divorced when she was three years old and they both went on to remarry. It made her realise from an early age that you do not have to be blood related to be a family, so for Emma fostering was a natural path to take.

How long have you been foster carers?

We have been foster carers since December 2013. We have had one foster child, Brittany, who started with us in short-term care as a baby and is now in our long-term care.

How do your professions influence your skills as foster carers?

We believe that being in the health industry allows us greater scope for empathy for our foster child’s biological parents. Sadly we are exposed, on a daily basis, to the less fortunate side of society. Our jobs have also provided us with good coping mechanisms for difficult situations.

How did people respond when you told them you had become foster carers?

The response from our family and friends was nothing short of amazing. They are all very supportive and caring of Brittany. To our family and friends, she is just one of us now.

What has been the impact on your family?

The impact Brittany has had on our family has been extremely positive. We love our children equally but the love is different. A positive different. We are so proud of our older daughter Caitilin who treats Brittany like her little sister. The bond between them is very strong.

What skills do you need to be a foster carer?

We try to be good parents all the time. But like most parents we have off days. You don’t need any special skills to be a foster parent. You just need to try to be a good parent.

What is the best thing about being a foster carer? What’s the most challenging?

Just knowing that our family is providing a loving and safe home for little Brittany. And that this environment will give her the best opportunity in life.

The biological family contact can be challenging at times but we try to be patient and empathetic.

How did you feel the day before your first placement?

We were filled with lots of emotions. We were nervous, excited and proud. But mainly we were excited for ourselves and Caitilin.

What is your greatest wish for children in your care?

That Brittany grows up happy, healthy and safe. We have the same dreams for our foster child as we do for our biological child. The one difference is that we hope Brittany can also have a good relationship with her biological parents. We both believe it is important that she knows where she came from and who her biological parents are.

Do you have a message for those considering foster care?

We cannot recommend being a foster parent highly enough. It is one of the most challenging journeys we as a family have been on, but it is also one of the most rewarding. Cliché but true.