Recently retired and finding themselves with an almost empty nest, Glenda and Phil discovered they still had a lot to give. With their own son and daughter now in their 20s, becoming foster carers was a logical next step. ‘I had an idyllic childhood myself,’ says Glenda, ‘I wanted to give a child the same opportunities I had.’
Stepping in early
Glenda and Phil began the process in March 2020. Kira, their first foster placement, was only two weeks old when they brought her home from the hospital on 5 January this year. During the two weeks Kira was in hospital, the medical team began the process of detoxifying Kira’s body from the drugs she had absorbed before birth.
Glenda and Phil then continued Kira’s treatment at home until 30 January. ‘Having to wake Kira every six hours to give her morphine was hard at first, but we put our faith in the medical professionals and followed their instructions to the letter. Kira now sleeps through night and is a healthy, happy baby. As soon as one of us walks into the room her eyes light up. We take her with us everywhere, even on our caravan camping trips.’
Not too late to change a child’s life
Now in their 60s – which many would think too old to care for a baby – Glenda is finding it easier in many ways third time around. ‘I haven’t found my age a disadvantage at all, especially as Phil and I work as a team. Because we’re retired and no longer have to answer to an employer, we can be flexible and respond to Kira’s needs. Without the pressure of work, we are much calmer and more relaxed which rubs off on Kira. And of course we give her plenty of love and cuddles, and everything she needs to feel safe and secure. This is the least any child deserves.’
There is no upper age limit to becoming a foster carer in Australia, provided you are fit and well. Whether you can provide respite care one weekend a month, emergency care or full-time care like Phil and Glenda, there is no reason not to consider this rewarding role in your retirement.
Despite enjoying being full-time carers to a small baby, Glenda and Phil don’t feel they can take the next step of committing to long-term permanent care or adoption. ‘Although we are both fit and well now, by the time Kira reaches 20, we’ll be in our 80s. We feel so privileged to be a part of making a difference to Kira’s life at the start and she has a home with us for as long as she needs. But we also want to give a younger couple or single person the opportunity to experience the joy of being her forever parents.’
Saying goodbye to a child you have loved and cared for is never easy, whatever your stage in life. But for Glenda and Phil, knowing they have given Kira the best possible second chance in life outweighs for them the inevitable loss they will feel when they do have to say goodbye. This is true unconditional love, something that Glenda and Phil have in abundance.
Are you ready to give a child in need a second chance? Call Challenge Community Services today on 1800 084 954 to discuss your options. Or you can set up a meeting with one our team here.