Karen and John

Port Stephens couple, Karen and John have been foster carers for almost a year now to a sibling group of three.

“We went from having just a pet dog at the start of the year to now having a sibling group of three. We have a very supportive extending family who help out when needed,” Karen says.

The couple started fostering through Key Assets after considering other options such as adoption.

“We were approved in January 2017 and started fostering at the end of January. We couldn’t have children of our own so we explored other options.”

“Becoming foster carers was the last option we considered. We really wanted to expand our family and provide care for children so we did our research and thought we would give it a go.”

“We went with Key Assets as they were able to match us with younger children under seven years.”

Karen and John were looking for two children but were keen to take on even more.

“We care for three children who are siblings and are in long term care. We only planned for two children, although when three siblings needed care, we couldn’t say no!”

When asked about what the most unexpected learnings were from fostering, the couple said the extreme highs and lows of foster children and how quickly this can change.

“The children’s behaviours can be set off by something so small. Even after being carers for seven months and getting to know the kids, there is still so much we are learning every day. We had prepared ourselves for tough times but some days have been tougher than we first imagined. We continue to persist and provide the children with the support they need and things are continually improving.”

The couple tells us the most positive experiences of fostering are the small moments.

“It is the small things, the silly things and the fun times you have with the kids. In just seven months, we have seen so much small, yet positive changes such as watching the children not know how to use a knife and fork to eat, to them independently feeding themselves. It is also nice to chat with our friends and family about the positive things they can see within the children.”

“Being a foster carer is a positively life changing. The children bring so much fun and laughter into our home.”

There are many children in Newcastle and Port Stephens in need of foster carers. If you are interested in becoming a foster carer, visit www.iwantofoster.com.au or call Key Assets on 1800 WE CARE.