Nicole and Gerald's story: Building a loving home (note: previously Phil and Linda)
Family life is what Nicole and Gerald are all about. With kids and grandkids of their own, Nicole and Gerald share their home as Wesley Dalmar foster carers to three children.
Fostering for 26 years now, the couple believes that fostering is rewarding because it gives children a chance at a healthy and happy childhood.
“When a child comes into foster placement, it gives them back their childhood. They don’t have to worry, and they don’t have to fear,” Nicole says.
“All of a sudden, the weight of the world is off their shoulders, and they know what love is.”
When asked what motivates them to foster, Nicole and Gerald said they’re grateful to help kids develop their self-esteem.
“A proud moment for me is when I see kids stand straight and have self-esteem,” says Nicole. “Instead of hiding behind you, they stand up straight and say hello to people and think, ‘Oh, I’ve got it!’”
Gerald continues, “These children didn’t have a good life, and to be able to care for them and show them what a good childhood means makes an awful lot of difference to me.”
Growing up, Gerald was an only child. It wasn’t until he married Nicole that he realised how rewarding it is to have a big family.
“I realised what I was missing with the amount of siblings Nicole had, and since we’ve been foster caring with all the children, I just love having kids around!”
For Nicole, being a foster carer runs deep in her family. She said her parents and her grandparents were both foster carers before her. Now, her daughter carries on her legacy and has decided to care for two children of her own.
Nicole says that fostering has no barriers and that anyone can consider themselves a foster carer.
“Anyone can be a foster carer. You don’t have to be married. You can be older or younger – as long as you know that you like children and one day, you might even love them!”
Similarly, Gerald adds, “It’s just being that someone who cares for children, looks after them and keeps them safe. Anybody can do it.”
For those considering foster care, Nicole says, “Do it and just make that phone call. You won’t be held in judgment if you decide against it further down the track. But make that phone call. You won’t believe how many children you can help.”
*Names and image have been changed to protect privacy.