Skip to main content

Being there for them is everything for children dealing with trauma

On an everyday evening in an everyday household in the Illawarra, Allan and Emma get three little girls ready for bed. Two are fostered, enjoying the routine of a safe and secure home.

Allan says that people don’t often understand there is a need for carers in their local region.

“People think foster care only happens elsewhere or in large cities. They also believe foster carers are superheroes, but opening your home to children who need care and support doesn’t feel like something that is exceptional to us. It’s our way of life.

We are very much the ordinary family, with the everyday routine of school, play, dinnertime, bath, and bedtime the constant backdrop to our family life.

– Allan

Emma and Allan always knew they wanted children and had talked about becoming foster carers for a long time. After the arrival of their firstborn, the couple knew that when the time was right, they would look into foster care. “We still wanted to expand the family, and we didn’t want to repeat IVF.”

After accreditation and training, two young sisters were placed in their care, a four-year-old and a six-month-old baby.

“When the older girl arrived, she couldn’t count to two. Now she’s counting and reading, and she can name all the different colours. The baby is now two and is reading the letters of the alphabet,” he says with delight.

The six-year-old receives extra assistance through visits to the GP and paediatrician and also receives behavioural support from MacKillop staff.

“MacKillop assists us in getting that consistent help for the girls, to set them up for a better future,” said Allan.

The couple says being foster carers is time consuming but that the rewards outweigh the challenges. “Seeing the kids grow and thrive, achieving their milestones and integrating into a normal life – that’s rewarding.

“When things have been difficult, we find time to sit down with case workers from MacKillop and work things out,” says Allan.

At the end of the day, you have to be loving and open, and accept the child for who they are.

– Allan

If you think this is a role that you and your family would like to explore, call us on 1300 791 677.