Carers for less than a year, Kate and Ryan always knew they wanted to build a family and they were open as to how that happened. Knowing that there were kids that needed a home and a family, was the push they needed.
“We became aware of our daughter’s circumstances through personal connections and knowing that she needed a home was the motivation to kickstart the process of becoming a carer, ” said Kate.
“We came from relatively comfortable, stable backgrounds and I became an educator working with kids who were at risk. This really opened our eyes to the need in the community and the need for kids to have a stable environment and how many just don’t have that,” she continued.
“I guess because of the training and home visits we felt really prepared for the process and were aware of the amount of bureaucracy involved. Where we weren’t prepared was being actual parents! We didn’t have any children of our own, so it was the basic parenting things like negotiating bed-times with an 11 year old!”
Kate and Ryan are quite young so none of their peer group have primary school age children, which they found could be a bit isolating.
"But then there’s the flipside where because we didn’t know what to expect we didn’t have to adjust any parenting expectations, there was nothing to compare it to. Our daughter is just our daughter.”
Kate describes being a parent as "the best! It’s brought meaning and continues to bring meaning. It’s also brought perspective, we are more aware of the realities of life for lots of kids across the country.”
“If there is one thing I could say to people, it’s don’t listen to the scary stories about kids from the foster system. Our daughter is great and that’s a myth I’d like to quash. We didn’t anticipate being young carers of a child our daughter’s age but that’s just our little family. More young carers would be great.”
“It’s quite obvious when we go out that we are a different culturally to our daughter and she is not afforded the same privacy as other children in care. She is asked often about her family make up and that’s not fair on her. Family is more than where you came from and while her cultural heritage is incredibly important, family is what you build.”