Providing a home away from home

September 14, 2020

Geordie and Matt have long been a loving aunty and uncle to their nieces and nephews.

So when the couple started foster caring in 2019, that love was extended to children in need in their local community.

The couple decided to become respite carers after Geordie’s friend, who works for Uniting, suggested they look into it.

“We had thought about it a few years earlier but never did anything about it,” says Matt.

“We decided not to take on long-term care because we both work full time. We decided respite care would be better suited to us.”

The couple now open their home to 2 girls when they require respite from their respective families.

“They stay for weekends here and there. It’s nice to be able to give them a home away from home,” says Geordie.

“Before (COVID-19) restrictions, we’d go for day trips. We cook, watch movies, play games and make sure they have a good break and some fun while they’re here.

“It’s been challenging at times because we don’t have children of our own and children today have different challenges than we did as kids.

“Thankfully we have great support around us from family and friends, and we’ve received strong support from Uniting,” adds Geordie.

The couple found there was an adjustment period to being foster carers.

“Geordie and I have been together for 15 years, so it’s been challenging getting used to having other people in the house,” says Matt.

“But on the flip side, we’ve formed a close bond with the girls and that’s been really rewarding.”  

They agree on the one piece of advice they’d give to new respite carers.

“Do it for the right reasons. You’re there to help them on their way, but you’re not their parents,” says Matt.

“You’re a small part of their life and hopefully you can be a calming influence,” adds Geordie.

“I’m glad we decided to give it a go. It’s certainly been worthwhile.”

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