Lismore couple fostered 30 kids

A SENSE of humour is important but patience, above all, is the quality a foster parent needs, according to a veteran carer.

Julie and her husband Gavin have taken in more than 30 children over the past 12 years.

The Lismore-area couple are about to adopt a two-year-old girl they have been looking after since she was six days old.

They also have a baby of six months in their care.

Then there’s their own two – a girl of 10 and a boy aged six.

“My 10-year-old has asked me ‘are we going to get a new baby in soon?’,” Julie said.

And watching her two children develop nurturing skills beyond their years is one of the many rewards of fostering, she said.

Another great satisfaction is watching the foster children grow in trust.

It’s often a slow process, which is where the patience comes in, she said.

Julie said she has got used to saying goodbye to her ‘children’ over the years, but it can still be emotionally hard.

“You need to love them like your own but be strong enough to let them go,” she said

The couple provide short-term care, usually up to six months, for children who will either go back to their families or on to a long-term placement.

“Fostering is an amazing way to give something back to your community,” says Julie. “I tell people that these kids did not choose this path that they are on, so we should all do our bit to help them.”

Julie, who does the bookkeeping for the family carpet cleaning business, feels as a foster carer she has been able to develop other skills and abilities.

There is also a foster care information sessino happening this Wednesday at Community Services, 4 Zadoc Street, Lismore from 6.30pm for the general public to learn more about foster care. Call 6623 4900 to book a place to attend.

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