Barnardos foster carers share their story for Foster Care Awareness Week
Full-time foster carer Nykki doesn’t have kids of her own but loves being a foster carer and says it’s her “calling.”
“I love that moment every night after the kids are in bed and I make their lunches and write encouraging notes to put inside their lunchboxes. It’s a time where I get to reflect, stop and think about all the amazing or funny things they’ve said or done that day.”
Foster carer Dave’s favourite part is seeing the kids develop and grow after getting the love and care they need.
“When our 9-year-old boy came to us he couldn’t sleep at night without all the lights on and was afraid of every little noise. Now he only needs a small night light and can sleep through anything – even our smoke alarm!”
So what kind of family or person makes the best foster carer?
“I think it’s somebody that goes into it ignoring the word ‘foster’ – you don’t need to parent them any different to your own,” says Nykki. “Yes there may be some special training needed but foster children just want the same things all kids want – safety, love and someone to listen.”
“And Barnardos makes sure you get the right training, we know how to handle certain situations and there’s a good support system in place where you can call and ask if you have any questions - 24/7.
“Our Barnardos social worker, my husband and I, and the kids have become a great team.”
She admits an important part of fostering can mean sitting down and having some hard conversations.
“If they ask me “Why can’t I live with my mum?” I say, your mum is the best mum for you as she is your mum but she can’t keep you safe right now and that’s why you’re with me.”
Dave’s advice for people who are interested in foster caring but have doubts is to just give it a go.
“It’s unbelievably rewarding and you get to see these kids blossom. I think it’s important to remember we’re not superheroes, we’re just doing what any other good parent would do. Mistakes are okay so don’t be scared of that because if you’re a good person, you can only do good for these kids.
“If it doesn’t work out, at least you can say you tried.”
Barnardos have children in Auckland who need homes now. There is no perfect type of person/family that makes a good foster carer, it’s about using the skills and life experiences you have to provide a safe home for a child or young person to be themselves in.
For more information on foster care at Barnardos, please call the Barnardos foster care team on (09) 625 0550 or email firstname.lastname@example.org