Glenmore Park resident, Leisa McGivern, loves getting cards on Mothers’ Day. She and her husband have been foster carers for 18 years. The cards are not only from their biological children, but from the foster children they have looked after over almost 20 years.
“I think we’ve fostered about 60 children during our time as foster carers,” says Leisa.
Her family of seven consist of husband Chris, three biological children and two long term foster sons. The family also cares for two other children in short term foster care.
A typical day is busy and starts early. Leisa begins by feeding her 7-month-old foster child. Then it’s their foster toddler’s turn. After a cuppa, it’s her son’s turn to eat breakfast and get ready for school. It sounds like a typical morning family routine.
“Our long-term foster kids are like my biological children. They are well and truly part of the family and are treated the same as everyone else.”
The kids have kept on coming.
More than 17,500 children and young people in NSW are unable to live with their own biological parents due to abuse, neglect or significant risk of harm. This number continues to grow, with more than 3,681 children entering the NSW foster care system during 2015-2016.
For Leisa, being a foster carer is something she felt she could do when she saw another foster mum care for her child all those years ago.
“I saw another mum at playgroup one day with her foster child. She was just amazing. Watching her shower her child with love, even when the baby wasn’t her own, was inspiring. I thought that was something that I could do.”
Being a foster parent hasn’t always been easy, but Leisa says it isn’t difficult if you are doing something you love so much.
“We do get support from Anglicare. And it is important to talk to other foster carers who are going through the same thing. If anyone is thinking of becoming a foster carer, I would encourage them to do the training that’s offered by Anglicare to see if they’d be suitable. If they are anything like us, they will never look back once they take their first child into their care.
“I just think it is a beautiful thing to do.”
For more information about foster caring with Anglicare, visit www.anglicare.org.au/fostercare
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