Young people’s story – Kerri
“I thought it was going to be like having a friend to sleep over for a few weeks,” remembers Kerri. “Sometimes it could be like that, but like any job it had its ups and its downs. When I say job, I do mean job. A job for me, my brother and my sister, not just my mum and dad; we were all involved in various ways.”
The ups and downs of foster care
For Kerri and her family, fostering was not always an easy task. While there were huge rewards for the job they had undertaken together, there were also downsides.
“Fostering is a fun job at times and then not so fun at others!” says Kerri. “It was fun not knowing who was going to be with us. Some days we would wake up to find a new face peeking out of the bedroom opposite. Then as we got older, we were finding empty beds where people had decided to check themselves out in the middle of the night, sometimes along with my clothes and CDs!
“Having mum at home was also a fantastic bonus which I didn’t fully appreciate when I was growing up. Mum was always there to pick us up from school, come to Sports Day and watch the Christmas plays.
“However, the reality of this sometimes meant meetings at our house and being shut out of the front room. The telephone calls were the worst as these were unscheduled, had to be confidential and could often last up to an hour.
“It was just like having an extended family, with extra brothers and sisters. Like any family, some days we all got on and other days we would all fall out. But for all the fall outs, my strongest memories are of the good times.”
Fostering as a family
Fostering for Kerri and her siblings and parents turned out not just to be a way of engaging the family, but extending it. Many of the children and young people in placement were not just foster children to Kerri, but brothers and sisters.
“The hardest part of fostering has got to be when someone you really like or care for as a brother or sister leaves. Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t every placement we had, some I was pleased to see leave but I can remember a few in particular that felt like I’d lost someone close. I can remember when I was 10 we fostered a baby from birth, who stayed with us until he was 18 months. He was my little brother and we were his family. I think he affected us all the most when he left.
“All ended well though and when he moved back to his family we still saw him. Although some children who left did not continue to keep in contact, many did. Mum still has contact with someone who left us 15 years ago.”
Are you thinking of fostering with your family
“Because of fostering I learned early on that sharing was a positive and not a negative,” states Kerri. “It’s not just sharing your toys and games which all children have to learn. It’s also sharing your home and, more importantly your parents.”
If you’re thinking of fostering in Queensland, fostering in South Australia or fostering in Western Australia with Key Assets Fostering, contact us today. Fostering could turn out to be an adventure not just for you, but for the whole family.