It all started with one question for Verity and Dan: “Have you thought about fostering?.”
At the time, Verity and Dan were finalising a kinship arrangement for their granddaughter and they just didn’t feel ready yet. A few years later they knew it was right for them.
From thought to reality
Deciding to take care of a child in need is a big decision and Verity advises prospective foster carers to do their homework first. “Researching and contacting foster care agencies can feel overwhelming, but you have to find an agency you ‘click’ with and who’ll support you all the way. Challenge Community Services was recommended to me, and the moment I first spoke to the Challenge case worker, I knew Challenge was the right choice for us."
Verity and Dan are completely focused on the needs of the children in their care and don’t expect any praise or kudos for what they do. “As soon as a child comes through our door, they become part of our family.”
Verity and Dan have cared for 11 children short-term. As well as their granddaughter, Dan and Verity are caring for two foster children whom Verity and Dan hope to adopt.
It’s all about the children
Verity and Dan understand that each child has different needs and that setting boundaries are important. “There is no doubt that it can be challenging at times,” "But I have found that perseverance pays off – along with plenty of love and kindness. However small, we hope we have made some positive impact on every child that they will carry with them wherever they go.”
The couple also has a great deal of compassion for the children’s parents. “There are so many complex reasons why parents are not able to look after their children. There are some heart-wrenching stories – it’s never cut and dried,” confirms Verity.
With over 17,000 children in NSW in need of out-of-home care, Verity is only too aware that not everyone understands how rewarding fostering can be. “Sometimes people tell me I’m ‘amazing’, but I actually hate being told that,” says Verity. “It’s nothing to do with being amazing – we have something to give and we just want to give it. In truth, we are the ones who are blessed.”
*Identifying details have been changed