For some couples, their 10-year wedding anniversary means a candle lit dinner, a relaxing holiday, or simply some alone time away from the kids. But for one couple, their 10th wedding anniversary will forever hold a very different memory.
With two boys aged 7 and 4, Hellen and Joe both knew they had more to give but hadn’t actually talked about expanding their family. In was on the day of their 10th wedding anniversary that by chance the couple came across the Challenge Community Services foster care team at a local shopping centre pop-up stall. This serendipitous encounter sparked a life-changing conversation that gave a young boy a new future and changed the direction of Hellen and Joe’s lives. The couple applied on the spot to become foster carers.
The wait is worth it
‘The approval process took around nine months with paperwork to fill in, home visits and the necessary checks,’ said Hellen. ‘But it all went very smoothly with the Challenge Community Services team guiding us all the way. We also attended foster carer training to help us prepare for our first placement. Especially helpful was learning about why a child might be acting in a certain way and how to manage these strong emotions or behaviours.’
Not long after Hellen and Joe were approved as foster carers, Challenge Community Services contacted them about a 2-year-old girl. ‘We were really excited about getting a referral so soon and were disappointed that she ended up going to another family. But after only another week, Challenge called us about another placement.’
Little Leo hadn’t been born when Hellen and Joe got the call – he was born a week and a half later and came home to live with Hellen, Joe and the boys a few days later. Other than a slight heart murmur, Leo was in good health and has just celebrated his first birthday with his loving foster family.
So much love to give
Third time around, Hellen is finding she is much more chilled than when she was as a first-time parent. ‘I don’t get stressed if Leo doesn’t meet his developmental milestones exactly when he is “supposed” to. He’s a really happy and alert baby who loves his balls, books and cars. Our heart simply melts every time he smiles – like our two birth sons, he has brought so much joy to our family. We are also pleased that we have been able to offer a home to a child in need.’
Leo is obviously a very adored member of the family who will have a loving home for as long as he needs. ‘Our two boys know that Leo might not stay with us forever and often say “Mummy, we don’t want Leo to go!” We do know there’s a possibility that we won’t be able to keep Leo with us. Being our first placement, we really don’t know how we’ll feel if he does leave, but we’ll cross that bridge if and when we come to it.’
The future may be uncertain for Leo, but one thing that is certain is that Hellen and Joe are making the most of the time they have with a happy little boy who has been given the best possible start in life.
More possible than you think
Whether you are an experienced parent, or have never had children, becoming a foster carer may be more possible than you think. Challenge Community Services welcomes single people and couples, as well as couples, younger as well as older carers. The first step is contacting Challenge Community Services and having an obligation free chat about your circumstances.
Are you ready to take the next step in becoming a foster carer? Call Challenge Community Services today on 1800 084 954 to discuss your options. Or you can set up a meeting with one our team here.