A Home for Gina
I have been fostering for 40 odd years. I do not number my children, they all have names, so how many children I would not know. Many of these kids still come and visit with their families and many are still a big part of our family.
They are all special, but our foster daughter Gina has been the stabiliser in our home to the many other children that pass through our doors. Her happy smile and her determination to live a normal life fills everyone that knows her with inspiration.
When Gina was placed into our care, we were told that she would not live past five years old and never walk because of her severe disabilities. That day we vowed that since we could not give her quantity of life, we would give her quality of life.
18 years later she is alive and well, and a real testament to what a network of caring people can accomplish.
Our FACS team worked endlessly beside us to ensure her needs were met. She had the right teachers, schools, recreation and services. Having the same caseworker for many years really helped, as he became a familiar part of her life, ensuring that she was included despite her disadvantages and I could always turn to him for support.
Belonging to a Support Group and going to regular training with other carers, was also so beneficial to our caring role.
Despite her disabilities, including cerebral palsy, epilepsy, renal failure and severe brain damage; Gina won gold in the Special Olympics 200m sprint, completed year 12, plays tennis, bowling, athletics and represents her school at state level for swimming.
Sharing our lives with Gina has enriched our lives so much. To know that we have given a child a chance at living and being successful in life has also improved our self-esteem.