Illawarra carers Nathan and Deb have been carers for 11 and a half years through CatholicCare Wollongong's Permanency Support Program, Fostering Futures.
After being unable to have their own biological children, Deb and Nathan (pictured) decided to enquire about becoming carers in the hope of being able to provide a child with a permanent home.
"We went to a little seminar and decided to sign up. We have been [carers] for 11 and a half years for the same two boys and five years ago we had a young girl come into our family," Deb said.
"The two boys came into our care as brothers when one was four and one 20 months old. Five years ago we applied for a young girl to come into our family and she has been with us ever since she was six years old... she has slotted into our family so well.
"We were given the two boys and it was like 'wow' a whole new world opened up. They were dropped off to us with everything they owned basically," Deb continued.
Right now, right here in our region, people are needed to put their hands up to become carers. Every family is unique, just as every child who comes into care is unique. The more carers we have, the better chance there is of making a successful match.
"It changes you as a person, you grow with them. To see where they come from and where they are now. Especially with my eldest one and the amount of things he has been through, he is just a different child... I couldn't be more proud of him," Deb said.
"They mean everything to us and I just want them to be happy and have the best opportunities in life. You treat them as if they are your own. Unconditional love...you just have to stand by them and be there for them."
At CatholicCare Wollongong's Permanency Support Program, Fostering Futures, they are passionate about children's wellbeing and their right to have stable, caring families and positive childhoods. They are always on the lookout for potential carers, who can share their homes and lives to make a positive impact on a child's future for a short time, or a lifetime.
"I can't put into words how grateful I am for the support we have received from CatholicCare and our case workers...I can't say enough about how fantastic they are," Deb said.
If you are interested in learning more, you can take it one step at a time to decide whether this is the right journey for you and your family.
Call 0418 783 956 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and they will support you every step of the way.
Article originally published in the Illawarra Mercury on Friday 10 May.