This weekend will be extra special for Jane Stewart when she celebrates her first Christmas as the long-term foster carer of adorable two-year-old twin boys, who were born with complex and chronic health conditions.

As a retired midwife in her 60s, Jane nursed and stabilised the brothers, and was then intending to transition them to a long-term carer.

One year on, and in a happy turn of events, Jane is now preparing to celebrate her first Christmas as the boys’ proud long-term guardian.

“Last year we were still planning to transition the boys to another carer, so this Christmas is really the first of many,’’ Jane, of Enfield, said.

“I wasn’t that daunted by their sicknesses, I was more worried about taking on two babies at my age, but it’s surprising what you can do even if you think you’re too old.“

Born with complex health issues including hydrocephalus - often described as water on the brain - and cerebral palsy, the eldest twin faced an unknown future when Jane took the boys home from hospital at 38 weeks in late 2020.

“They said it was touch and go when he was born; they didn’t know if he’d pull through,’’ she said.

His brother had challenges of his own, with a cleft lip and palate, but the siblings, who recently turned two, are today thriving in Jane’s care with the support of Centacare Catholic Family Services.

“I can understand it might have been a hard task for people without my background given their high care needs,” Jane said.

“To me, they are the most beautiful boys in the world.”

Jane has watched the twins grow in strength after several surgeries and minor procedures.

“We are very optimistic about their future - they have come so far,’’ she said.

“I did intensive work with one to get him to crawl. Now he can stand up holding onto things and we are sure that he’ll be walking in the not-too-distant future.

``The love they give to you, it’s amazing. They are such happy children.”

Jane hopes to take the boys overseas to connect them to their Scottish heritage which she has researched.

“If you have the capacity to be a foster carer, do it,’’ she said.

“It will bring so much to your family and your heart - and to the child.”

Jane is in regular contact with the twins’ birth mother who shares in their milestones.

“Every week I send her photos, so she can keep updated,” Jane said.

``This week I took in the little Christmas things they made in daycare to hang on the tree; we like to make her feel special.

“She adores them. I want them to know that they are loved, but through circumstances, here we are.

“It’s been a journey and there’s more to come, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Centacare Children’s Services Executive Manager Amalie Mannik said the boys’ progress was indicative of Jane’s child-focused therapy and nurturing support, and their ability to navigate the health system to meet the twins’ additional needs.

``What they have achieved with the boys is nothing short of phenomenal,” Amalie said.

Department for Child Protection Deputy Chief Executive Fiona Ward said carers play an invaluable role in keeping children and young people safe and providing them with love, stability and opportunities to thrive.

“This is a great example of what children can achieve when they are in a stable, loving and nurturing home environment,” Ms Ward said.

“We thank Jane, and all South Australian foster and kinship carers who open their homes, generously sharing their time and love to create a brighter future for children and young people.”

Minister for Child Protection Katrine Hildyard said “Jane is a shining example of the difference that the care, love and nurture generously given by foster carers makes in the lives of children”.

“I am so grateful for their commitment and compassion and thank them and all foster carers for choosing to open their hearts and homes,” Minister Hildyard said.

If you’ve been thinking about becoming a foster carer, you can find out more at www.fostercare.sa.gov.au or by calling 1300 2 FOSTER (367 837).