The beautiful heartache of raising a stranger's children.

Remington Meyer's Queensland home is full of all the vibrancy and clamour that comes with raising young children. It’s chaotic at times. But Remington and his husband, Alain, have fully embraced it — all the more, because they know it could be fleeting.

The couple are foster carers

Mere months after beginning the application process, they went from dreaming about having kids to being responsible for three primary-school-aged siblings.

"It’s a lot," Remington, 48, told Mamamia’s No Filter podcast. "But Alain and I had talked about it so much, and we knew we wanted to have children — we were ready. We were so ready."

Yet despite all the dreaming and all the planning, nothing could have prepared them for the impact that three little strangers would have on their lives.


According to the latest data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 45,400 children are in out-of-home care in Australia. That includes foster care, relative/kinship care (with someone known to the child, such as a grandparent), and temporary emergency accommodation.

Children are placed in out-of-home care when authorities determine that it’s not safe or appropriate for them to remain at home with their parents. 

That can happen for a variety of reasons. Their home may be unsafe due to violence or neglect. Their parents may be unable to provide adequate care due to ill-health, substance abuse problems, or intellectual disability. Or their parents may have died, leaving them without a suitable guardian. 


When strangers open their homes for a few hours of respite care, overnight emergency care, or long-term foster care, they can provide these children with a soft place to land. Sadly, there’s a dire shortage of carers across the country.

That was a big part of Remington and Alain’s decision to get involved.

"We really don't need to bring another child into the world for our life to be fulfilled," he said. "There are thousands of children that need homes."

Remington and Alain. Image: Supplied.


Remington and Alain were screened, assessed, and trained by Anglicare — one of the agencies that works alongside state governments to manage the out-of-home care system.

"When you start entering the foster care system, there's not so much paperwork to do, but there is homework to do. You have to go through courses, you have to go through all sorts of learning about children and different types of abuse and trauma," he says.

There’s also a rigorous screening and assessment protocol to ensure applicants can provide a safe, nurturing environment.

"They ask for a police report, they speak to your friends, they speak to your neighbours, they speak to your colleagues. They come to your house and record where the alcohol is, and where the bleach is. They assess where the pool is and if it’s closed properly. They go through all that stuff," he continued.

Once Remington and Alain were approved and accredited, they were told about the three children selected for them. They were siblings, aged 5, 7, and 9. For legal reasons, Remington can’t give further details about them or their circumstances, other than to say they’d been living with another foster carer for about 10 months prior. 

It was at her home that Alain and Remington first met them.

Remington recalls pulling up to the house and being overcome with the magnitude of the situation. Knocking on a stranger’s door, knowing you’re about to come face-to-face with children who’ll soon call your house 'home', whose safety and wellbeing will become your top priority.


"We both had a cry before we got out of the car," he says. "We both looked at each other, had a hug and a kiss, and were like, 'Okay, you're ready?'"

The children were in the pool when the couple walked in.

"I think we'll both never forget those three wet little faces; those big, beautiful eyes staring up at us," he says. "It was an incredible moment.

"And it could have gone in so many different ways. They could have run to their room, they could have taken off, they could have been weird about it, they could have been scared. They weren't. They looked at us with these big eyes and beautiful faces, and smiled and were just excited to meet us."

After a transition phase involving several more get-togethers, the children moved into Remington and Alain’s home in 2023. 

Image: Supplied.


Though there have been challenges, Remington says they’ve felt well-supported by the various agencies involved in the children’s case. And like all foster carers, they receive financial support to help cover the day-to-day costs of caring for them.

The siblings’ parents are also in their lives and have regular contact. Foster carers are trained on how to navigate this relationship, and critical to that, Remington says, is withholding judgment.

"They really go deep with you about empathy," he said. "You understand the children. You get a file, they kind of discuss what's happened, and what's going to happen, the courts, and so on. But you don't have a file about the parents. You don't know what they've been through, what kind of situation they grew up in."

Remington says the whole arrangement seems to be working well for the children.

"Everyone's saying to us how well they're doing. The psychologists are saying they're doing great, child safety, the school teachers," he says. "When you start seeing them develop in that way, you realise it doesn't matter what happened. What’s [happening] right now is amazing."


As for the future? Remington’s voice catches with emotion as he speaks about it. 

"It's been over a year now. So you do become very close to them. Half of me really believes the best thing for children is to be with their parents. And I really hope things can get better with their parents," he says. 

"And then the other half of me is enjoying this family life we have. Getting up and having breakfast and getting dressed and going to school drop off and going to work and then racing to school pickup and getting home and doing homework and dinner."

And so, faced with all the unknowns of their life together, he chooses to focus on what’s known, on the incredible impact the children have had on him. 

"Everyone says to us, 'These kids are so lucky to have you.' But I'm sorry, we are lucky to have these kids in our lives," he says. 

"What they've done for us, what they've done to our relationship and how they've opened our eyes to what families look like… It's been a blessing."

Listen to the full episode of No Filter with Mia Freedman and Remington Meyer here.

If you’re interested in being a foster carer, please contact Anglicare Southern Queensland via their website or call 1300 000 828. You can also head to Barnardos Australia.

Feature image: Supplied.

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