Growing up in England Beth learned early on about the impactful and important work providing care to children without permanent homes was. Her mother and grandmother fostered and adopted children throughout their lives. As a result, Beth has a has a sister who was adopted by her parents with whom she shares a close bond.
Reminiscing on her childhood Beth says, “Growing up my siblings and I were never bored. We always had a full house, and if we ever complained about having nothing to do, my grandmother would have us make teddy bears for the local orphanage. I learned a lot about caring for others from her.”
Beth left England behind to start a life in Australia with her husband. Together they lived a fulfilling life, raising their three children. After her husband’s passing 8 years ago, Beth found herself with an empty home. She retired from her job as a preschool teacher and took some time to herself to figure out what to do with the next stage of her life. When Beth decided she was ready to get back out there, she returned to her duties as a Scouts leader a role she’d held for 30 years, this time for the Joeys (5–8-year-olds). While she found connection outside with the Scouts she still felt something was missing back at home.
During this transitional period of her life Beth also decided to get back in touch with her familial roots and approached Simon at MacKillop and went through the training process to become a foster carer. Shortly after training she welcomed 10-year-old Nikita into her home. She says with Nikita’s arrival her once empty house has become a vibrant and lively family home again.
“I’m an older woman, I lost my husband about eight years ago and became a widow. I was left with a house with empty bedrooms. I was umming and ahhing about what to do and I thought there’s got to be a child that needs a bed and I’ve got an empty bedroom with a bed in it. So I went to see Simon at MacKillop and it went from there. Not long after completing the foster carer training and vetting process Nikita came into my life and I have found myself in a beautiful new season of life helping her achieve her goals.”
Beth describes Nikita as an inquisitive and bright young girl who has expressed a shared an interest in baking and gardening, as well as a newfound interest in leadership. “Being an older child she is always curious about learning, and it gives me joy to share my knowledge of baking and gardening. We have been propagating succulents from the garden to put in her room. It’s not just care giving, I’m always sharing my knowledge with her and she teaches me about her world as a young person.”
In addition to sharing her hobbies and knowledge with someone, Beth relishes being witness to and supporting Nikita’s growth and development as a responsible young person. She’s proudly watched as Nikita’s social skills have developed in the two years she’s been in her care and says, “Her teachers have noticed how much she’s grown and gained confidence. Recently she applied to be part of the school leadership team – something her teachers hadn’t envisioned for her. They’ve noticed the difference a stable home has had for Nikita, having that care and mentorship to guide her on a positive path.”
For Beth most rewarding part of foster caring for Beth is seeing Nikita succeed and become a responsible young person but having a full and vibrant home again is an added perk she doesn’t take for granted.
“She’s been a blessing in disguise. The house isn’t empty anymore, it has noise and life in it. So, it sounds like a family home again.”
Beth’s daughter and her kids have recently moved in with them and now the whole house is full.