'I had the room in my home, heart and head': Anna's story as a Foster Carer
Anna, a single 41-year-old Administration Manager from Bowral, was drawn to becoming a foster carer since she was in her twenties. However, it wasn't until her last relationship ended when she was 39 that she enquired about becoming a foster carer with CatholicCare Wollongong.
"I always knew it was something I wanted to do, so I thought 'let's just go for it'," Anna said.
Anna started the process of looking into foster care by joining Facebook Groups for carers.
"It was great to hear about what others were saying about their experiences with different agencies and the different types of care." Anna said.
Anna was then given the recommendation to enquire with CatholicCare's Fostering Futures and hasn't looked back since.
"From the very beginning there has always been gorgeous people involved and I knew that I could call anyone with any questions." She said.
It took less than a year from her first enquiry for Anna to be matched with 16-year-old Emily* for long term foster care.
"The CatholicCare team stayed constant from my training till my introduction with Emily. Since having Emily, I've had a great support worker and she's always been there for me if I need her." She said.
Anna has now been a foster carer to Emily for over 6-months and shared that Emily has been the perfect match for her lifestyle and capability.
"CatholicCare matched us so well. They really listened to what I was looking for and I felt comfortable enough to say what I think I can and cannot manage." Anna said.
Before becoming a foster carer for Emily, Anna hadn't lived with children, so she did a lot of research on how she can best support Emily. She said that everything she read mentioned the importance of having patience.
"I just remind myself that I need to be understanding of her mindset, age and what she's going through," She said.
However, one key thing that was left out of her research was the importance of having fun.
"Sometimes Emily will put on a funny voice and start being silly. She did it the other day and I just started matching her with the same funny voice and she couldn't stop laughing. She came up to me and gave me a big cuddle. That's all she wanted in that moment - to be silly with someone." Anna said.
Right now in NSW, more than 350 homes are needed for vulnerable children.
"You need to have the room in your heart, mind and home to foster care, but I think if you're thinking about it, you're already halfway there." Anna said.