Being a foster carer has a deep personal connection for Ben.
“One of the reasons I decided to go down this path is because my mum was in care when she was younger,” say Ben.
“For me, this is a way of giving back. If someone didn’t look after mum when she was younger, I wouldn’t be here.”
Ben and his partner have been foster carers with Uniting for 8 years.
The same sex couple started offering respite care for children and in 2019 decided to take on a long-term placement.
“We’ve always had an inherent need to help people when we can,” says Ben.
“Being able to offer respite care to children who need it was a great experience, but we knew we had more to give.
“For the past 18 months we’ve had a young boy in our care. It’s been challenging at times, but extremely rewarding.
“When he arrived, he was struggling to read and was falling behind his peers.
“But he has improved out of sight over the past 18 months. It’s been wonderful to watch his progress and to be able to help where we can.”
Ben says the couple have found it challenging trying to understand why certain behaviours occur, without knowing what has happened in the little boy’s past.
“You learn to be patient and understanding,” says Ben.
“We try the best we can to put ourselves in his shoes.
“And it’s about building trust so he’s comfortable to open up when he needs to do so.
“These children need certainty, continuity and people who are committed to caring for them.”
Ben points out that foster caring isn’t easy, but the benefits far outweigh the difficulties.
“It took over six months, but I’ll always cherish the moment he gave me a hug for the first time,” says Ben.
“It’s those precious moments that make it so rewarding.”
Please note, the photo accompanying this story is for illustrative purposes only. It is not a photo of the people featured in this story.