27 May 2024

Thinking of fostering? This is for you.

Hear from Moya as she shares her inspiring story of how she became a foster carer with us.

I first got involved with caring for kids when I was involved in a community where there was a high crime rate with young kids, so I started to teach young girls to play netball to keep them off the street. Some of them could not afford uniforms so I used to bake and hold cake stalls to raise funds for them.

When I met my husband I kept telling him he got a package deal with me - a wife, 3 kids and a dog in tow.  Together we began hosting international students in Western Australia before moving to Canberra.   We then again saw ourselves hosting international students and caring for students whose parents had been transferred overseas and wanted their kids to finish up the school year.

Besides hosting students, teaching them English, and taking them for drives around the New South Wales countryside, I also volunteered for 14 years for St John Ambulance, spent three years actively in the volunteer Fire Brigade, as well as volunteering for the local Lions Club.

From Canberra, we made a big move to Bundaberg. We purchased our house unseen over the internet and had never been to Bundaberg before - I didn’t even know where it was!

We had decided before we moved to Queensland, that we were no longer going to be involved with caring for kids and sold all the beds and furniture. Well…that lasted about 5 months. In 2007 we applied to be foster carers, got accepted and did the training. 

During the training sessions with Churches of Christ, my husband and I recognized that there was a great need for emergency and respite carers, I don’t think there were many around then. So that was the way we started our journey. Our first children through the door were identical girl triplets. I often wonder “where are they now?”

Sadly, we had just gotten started in our fostering journey, and about 18 months down the track my husband was diagnosed with cancer and passed away early 2010. I sat on my hind quarter for several weeks before I put my hand up to go it alone, and here I am today. 

I got on the Kids in Care Christmas party committee which then was facilitated by Churches of Christ, local organisations and carers. For several years I organized the fundraising, Mothers and Fathers Day raffles and Bunnings sausage sizzles so the kids could have a great party at Christmas. It was a busy time of year, driving around Bundaberg to collect donated gifts. 

Of course, this journey could not have been possible without the assistance of the team at Churches of Christ and Child Safety. Their unwavering support and understanding have been more available in the past few years. The few times I’ve had trouble with a young person, I have found the support to be good, and they have great listening skills. Sometimes “you just have to ask” - and I’m not very good at that - but I’m getting better.

I strongly believe in advocating for kids in care and will always go the extra mile for them. 

So, why do I do this? I came from a family of domestic violence and alcohol abuse, so I feel these kids’ pain, and can talk to them about how I felt, when you got the strap or wooden spoon around the backside or went hungry.

My sister asked me at Christmas when was I going to stop looking after kids in care. I smiled and said, “When they stop coming into care.”  She looked blank, then said, “but they never stop coming”.  “Exactly!” was my response.

So good luck with your fostering journey, and I’m sure if we all sat around a campfire toasting marshmallows, we would all have some wonderful stories to tell.

Stay strong, and never let the kids get you down. Keep smiling. It always confuses them.