Making a positive impact on a young life
When Glen and his wife Karen made the decision to become foster carers three years ago, they never expected the ‘far reaching difference’ they could make to a young person’s life.
The couple, who are long-term foster carers with Life Without Barriers, took in an 8-year-old boy in 2017 and have not looked back since.
Glen says that while caring for older children and adolescents can bring additional challenges as they transition to adulthood, there are also many rewarding moments.
“While every age group has its challenges, this age group can face additional hurdles as they transition from a child to young adult and everything that puberty brings with it,” the 68 year old says.
“However, we enjoy this age group as you can have terrific conversations with the young person while they try and make sense of the world.
“We enjoy camping, fishing, surfing and travelling, and this age group fits wonderfully in this lifestyle. They want to explore a larger world and start experiencing it. That fits in well with us, and it is fun seeing them develop.
“Growing through puberty needs a safe and supportive home life, a place they can fall back on while they come to terms with their brain coping with hormones and feelings they have never experienced before. They need a safe place where they can talk without judgement and express their thinking without ridicule or abuse.
“No matter what age the child is, they need safety to be able to develop into great adults.”
Glen has shared his story as part of a #FosterCareSA social media campaign to bring greater awareness to the need for more foster carers – particularly for older children and adolescents - in South Australia.
Glen is also a Carer Ambassador with Life Without Barriers, connecting with the community to help raise awareness about fostering and encouraging others to find out if fostering is right for them.
He links his drive to become a foster carer back to his own childhood.
“Shortly after we began our current long-term placement, I realised that my motivation came from my father,” Glen says.
“My birth father left my mother when she became pregnant. She later met another man who she married, and he adopted me when I was very young, giving me a great life, and a strong moral compass.
“His unconditional love showed me what is possible for a child coming from a broken family.”
And while the impacts of COVID-19 are being felt by many in the community, Glen encouraged those who have considered foster care to put up their hands.
“Many people have had their lives radically changed during this time of COVID-19.
“Change is scary for most, and many people feel unsafe with all the uncertainty about their health and finances.
“At this point in time, we need many foster carers who are willing to care for adolescents and teenagers and transition them into great adults.
“The difference you will make is far reaching. By helping just one adolescent transition to adulthood, you will positively change the ripple effect they will have in their future, and the many other people they encounter and affect in their life journey.”
To help us raise awareness about foster care, please share these stories on social media with the hashtag #FosterCareSA.
Anyone interested in finding out more about foster care should visit www.fostercare.sa.gov.au or call 1300 2 FOSTER (367 837).