The first time I picked up my foster kids nothing could prepare me for the trauma of the hour long drive home with them screaming for anybody but me. At three years old and 12 months they had already seen too much, been given too little and yet their safe place at that moment was not here in this car with me.
My little girl screamed, scratched, found the strength to unbuckle her car seat and she threw herself on the floor in front of her brother’s seat while the car was travelling 110km an hour on the M1. She didn’t know who I was, where she was going and there was nothing familiar to soothe her. Minutes later rocking her little body in my arms on the side of the road with cars zooming past in turn rocking me with their force, I had no idea of the metaphor of the moment I was in. Our world was about to be fully rocked to its core, I’d invited an earthquake into our home and together we were about to rebuild all of our lives.
The pursuit of parenthood was not an easy path for my husband Gerard and I. The fertility fairy didn’t get the memo for our plan for a family of four. When we finally had our little miracle, Millie Valentine, it was back on the infertility train as we tried to give her a sibling. The year’s dribbled by, our bank account drained and so we decided to take some steps to become foster parents.
State of Origin night we finally took the plunge.
While pies and beer were being eaten and drunk in homes eager for Queensland to win, we sat at a foster information night in a church hall with an organisation eager to win our hearts and safe homes for the sake of children in need. Interestingly while we wanted to learn how to care for other children, it proved impossible to get one to care for ours on football’s night of nights. So with colouring books packed in a bag we took our three-year-old along for the ride.
Lying on the floor at our feet she coloured, sang, and popped up occasionally to tell me a secret in a roaring whisper “Daddy’s do fart’s and Mummy’s do fluffs but Georgia’s mum calls them pop-offs and isn’t that funny”. The educator pushed through her information over the din of my child’s noisy racket while potential foster parents asked heartfelt questions like “how hard is it to give them back?”