“We were in the car and I heard them in the back laughing together. And it wasn’t until that moment that I noticed that they had never really laughed or played or shared joy together.”
Brydie works with children in out-of-home care, and is very aware of the need for more carers. She and her husband are also parents to four children of their own. Despite her bustling family life, Brydie and her family decided to open their home to children in the care system, providing support as emergency and part-time carers.
“We were at a point where my kids were old enough and a point in our lives where we felt we had the resources to help a child. I just needed to wait until it was the right time for our family.”
Shortly after becoming registered carers Brydie and her family welcomed 2-year-old twin girls into their care.
When they first arrived into Brydie’s care the infant girls’ relationship had been disrupted due to the unstable nature of their circumstances. Brydie relishes recalling the rapid change in the twins dynamic, “That was my favourite part of having them with us, watching their relationship change from a negative thing to a positive thing in such a short period of time. Over the time they were with us we put a lot of focus onto rebuilding that relationship. They no longer had to compete for resources or attention. Their relationship really thrived, and they began to learn play together and take joy from each other.”
A memory Brydie remembers fondly is driving with the girls, “We were in the car and I heard them in the back laughing together. And it wasn’t until that moment that I noticed that they had never really laughed or played or shared joy together. But hearing the two of them in the back of the car laughing and chattering away to each other was a big moment for me.”
Brydie believes keeping siblings together is critical to the growth and well-being of a child.
“That sibling relationship is so important and I think especially for children in out-of-home care. They have been removed from family and their home and friends. All those things that are familiar. It is so important to be able to maintain that relationship with their siblings.”
The sibling relationship is a constant in a child’s life, and Brydie believes it’s important to support and nurture it. This value has been imparted onto Brydie’s youngest daughter who was able to play big sister to the twin girls.
“My 8 year-old daughter spent a lot of time playing with the girls. We would do things to engage positive interaction with them. My daughter played a big role in modelling that behaviour, and encouraging positive interactions. She’s the youngest and has always been the baby of the family, and it was lovely seeing her stepping up and taking on a big sister role, and being involved in looking after the girls.”
Brydie sees how the relationship between the twins in her care and her daughter was mutually beneficial.
“They were none verbal when they came into our care, and her name was their first word. Both of them would yell out her name. It was the only word they had. That was really beautiful to see that relationship develop.
She was proud of them too, we’d go out for a walk and she’d introduce them and it was like a sibling relationship for her while they were here.”
After three years of being a carer Brydie has quickly learned that when she has siblings in her care, they settle much quicker and easier. She attributes this to the strength of the sibling bond.
“When you’re in this situation where you don’t have a lot of control over your life and you’re being moved around or you’re with different people, or you’re told you can’t see your parents all the time. I think it’s really important and valuable to have that support of your sibling.”