In December 2013 we signed the contract on our home and immediately called Child Safety Services to begin the training to become foster carers! We had wanted fostering to be part of our family but wanted to wait until our two children were old enough to understand and we had somewhere we could make our home. We were told that it would be about a six to nine-month process before a child was placed with us.
Our two requirements for taking a foster child were, that the child had to be younger than our youngest (who was three) and be able to go to childcare two days a week so I could continue working. In September 2014 we received a phone call asking if we would consider taking a newborn due to be born the next day. After some hasty phone calls and conversations at work, we said yes. I will never forget the CEO of the Christian community organisation I worked for coming to my desk and saying ‘I think you are crazy, but we’ll support you all the way’ and I became the first foster parent to receive maternity leave at that organisation!
We were allowed to begin visiting bub soon after he was born and eagerly applied everything we had learnt in training about attachment and bonding. One of us tried to be in the hospital once each day and we brought our children along too who happily drew pictures to hang up around bub’s cot. The little guy spent 11 weeks in hospital withdrawing from illicit drugs and little did we know, but at the time, we were seen as a bit odd by hospital staff and child safety service officers for wanting to bond, yet we thought we were doing what we were supposed to!
At 11 weeks bub came home and changed our lives forever. He hasn’t turned back from that first 11 weeks of life and is developing and growing normally and brought indescribable joy to our home.
When we brought bub home and really began our journey as a foster family God revealed the importance of this ministry! A bit of a ‘dah’ moment, throughout the scripture is the adoption story of us into His family and His call for us to adopt others. His love of children and His call for us to love the vulnerable and the orphan. His call for us to lay down our lives for others and take up our cross daily. His call to let Him be in control and not us. And this is the foster care journey!!! We aren’t in control, this little bub is God’s bub just as much as our two boys are, as Christians we need to live as salt and light in the community we are put in, and foster care is one way of doing this. As God revealed all of this to us we began to wonder why the Church wasn’t talking about foster care ministry and why more Christians weren’t stepping into this place.
As we began having conversations we began meeting other Christian fostering families who had been doing it on their own for years and slowly a group of Christian fostering families formed and began supporting one another. From that, we linked into Home for Good in the UK and skyped Krish Kandiah who invited us to the inaugural World Without Orphans Forum. There we were inspired by the global movement of churches and Christians rising up to fulfil God’s call to love the orphan and vulnerable in their communities and Fostering Hope was born.
We are now 2018 and are a family of five children, two biological and three foster children, all boys! So the house is loud! Our prayer is for the church in Australia to rise up and fill the need for fostering families for children and young people in care all across Australia.