fbpx

Stretch-A-Family

Lauren's Story
Lauren

Age: 30

Age of child: 7

Duration of foster care: December 2018 to present

Lauren is a single carer currently looking after an Indigenous child. Lauren is working with SAF & the birth family to facilitate the child’s restoration to her birth family. Lauren shared the ups and downs of her foster care experience so far.

••••••

Fostering is everything you expect and nothing like you can prepare for all at the same time. It provides you with the highest highs and the lowest lows and sometimes that can all be within an hour! I’ve always loved kids & wanted to provide a loving home to those that need one.

I began my fostering journey a year ago, and what a whirlwind it has been.  Watching a child grow and develop in skills, trust, self-confidence, friendships and knowledge has been so rewarding.  I think back to the beginning of the placement where the child was shy and wouldn’t initiate conversations with anyone to now where they run through into our friends’ houses ready to spill the latest news and stories.

The biggest challenges have been around building self-regulation skills and remaining calm – especially when everyone is tired and cranky! Balancing the need for stability and being able to cope with the unpredictable nature of fostering and sudden changes in contact and planned appointments has been challenging for me, however open and consistent communication is the key to a great partnership with your caseworker.

I found the carer assessment process straightforward, easy and insightful. Being a carer with SAF is great because of the support you receive & the support network, the ease of communications with my caseworker, and I really like that they are a small Agency.

It has been a year of so many changes: the placement of a child, the breakdown of my marriage, selling our home and planning to move, a huge trip every day between home, school and my workplace. Despite all the craziness that this year has brought I would not change a single moment of it for the world. It has made me stronger, taught me so much about myself each and every day. I get cuddles with my little one and I know that no matter how long the placement lasts for, I have made a difference.

love makes a family

“Our little motto in our home is ‘family is whoever you choose to call family’ and nothing is more true in foster care”

 My placement is that of an identified Aboriginal child in a non-indigenous placement. This has certainly had its own set of challenges and rewards along the way. I have learnt a lot about Indigenous culture and yet am continuing searching for additional ways to build understanding, knowledge and culture into our everyday activities.  I guess society has come a long way in some regards, as no-one automatically assumes that I’m not her Mum. This has led to some interesting conversations, and some that are quickly answered with “She’s not my Mum, that’s ‘x!’”

I guess I am lucky. I grew up surrounded by a wide circle of friends and family who I chose. Our little motto in our home is “family is whoever you choose to call family” and nothing is more true in foster care, in my opinion, where my child is lucky enough to have so many people who love and care for them.

For me and the beautiful child in my care, we are looking towards restoration to birth family, but I am really keen to continue providing care. If someone is thinking about becoming a carer I would tell them that foster care is hard work, but very rewarding and totally worth all the ups and downs along the way.