How fostering benefits your own children

How fostering benefits your own children

With four young children of their own, Joanne and Dave White* are often asked; why do you foster?

Their answer; “We know it’s a risk and we know the drawbacks, but in the long term, we think fostering not only helps vulnerable kids, it will benefit our own children too.”

Over the past ten years, the Whites have fostered 30 children for respite care and short term stays. They are now remodelling their home to create more space for taking longer foster placements.

How fostering benefits your own children

“With our family still being quite young, we decided to take things slowly and not overstretch ourselves,” Joanne said.

“We’re in this for the long haul and we don’t want to burn out too quickly; we imagine fostering till we’re old and grey.”

As their children have grown, Joanne has seen the positive and negative effects their lifestyle choice has had on their kids, especially their eldest Jacob.

“It’s fantastic when the kids are young; if the foster kids are older they dote on the younger ones. Or one of the kids we do respite care for is the same age as my youngest and they’re best friends,” the busy Mum said.

“But we have seen changes in Jacob’s attitude as he gets older which is only natural,” the busy Mum said.

“We see him trying to understand it on an intellectual level and grappling with how and why these kids are here.”

“The older children know it’s a bit more of an imposition on them now. They have to share their toys and our attention.”

Despite this, Joanne is proud of the way her kids have welcomed many different foster children into their home and the long lasting bonds they’ve made with them.

“I’d be rapt if they eventually became foster carers too,” she said.

“Our kids are very lucky and they live in a bit of a bubble. We want them to understand that life is complicated and to be the type of people who will reach out to those who are vulnerable.”

Both Joanne and Dave have realised the importance of family communication within the whole process.

“We have to include and inform our family about why someone is coming into our home, the hard thing is finding the balance in what you should and should not tell them,” Joanne said.

“But when all is said and done, you need to make your children understand why it is you do this.”

Baptcare is looking for foster carers in the Western and inner Northern suburbs of Melbourne. If you can open your home to one or more children we’d love to hear from you. Contact Ana on 9373 3800 and start the conversation today.

*All names have been changed.