When Upper Hunter locals Dale and Robert met one-year-old Liam* in 2018 it marked the start of a journey that’s been full of love, hope, patience, and growth.
At the time they had been struggling to have a child of their own, so they decided to open their hearts and home to a child who really needed it.
After making this decision they enquired with a few different agencies before connecting with CatholicCare Hunter-Manning.
Dale said they instantly “clicked” with the service and following the relevant checks, were introduced to Liam.
Their first interaction with him was through a photo.
“When we saw his picture, we couldn’t say no – our hearts broke for him, he looked so sad and lost and we knew then and there that he needed our help,” Dale said.
“We knew that we could make a difference in his life.
“To start with Liam was disconnected and shut off, just going through the motions but then within a month, he had come out of his shell like a pocket rocket.
“From day one our connection to him was immediate. We thank our lucky stars every day that he came into our lives when he needed us. Every day has been a blessing.” she said.
“Rob and I know with all that we are that we didn’t have our own biological children because God had other plans for us… this.”
Fast forward to 2023 and the duo cannot imagine their lives any other way.
“If we had the choice again, we wouldn’t change a thing,” Rob said.
“He is one of a kind.
Caring for any child who has been in ‘care’ will always involve good days and challenging days, but the emotional rewards can be enormous.
“It’s definitely been a ride, there’s been ups and downs with it all, but we will continue to learn more as he progresses. Our whole world revolves around him,” Rob said.
When we interviewed the duo back in 2021, we asked them if Liam remembered anything about the day they met.
Remarkably, even now that he is a little bit older, his answer remains the same – “love”.
“I expected him to not remember anything, so I was surprised by his answer,” Dale said.
“But it was so cute and moving.”
The duo encourages anyone who is interested in becoming a foster carer to take the next step and give CatholicCare a call.
“As long as you’ve got love in your heart, room in your house, somewhere safe and secure to have a child I think anybody can be a foster carer – no kid should be lonely and without love,” Dale said.
CatholicCare Director Gary Christensen added that there is demand for more carers like Dale and Rob.
“There is an overwhelming shortage of foster carers in our region,” Mr Christensen said.
“If you have space in your heart and home for a child or young person, please get in contact – you can help us change their lives.”
For more information about CatholicCare’s foster care program, please visit www.catholiccare.org.au/fostercare
To see more of Dale and Robert’s story, watch this video.