SYLVIA & NICK

Caravan trips around Australia and catching up with friends. That’s how former school principals Sylvia and Nick had their retirement mapped out.

Little did they know life had other plans.

At 64 and 74 respectively, the couple are now foster parents to two boys, aged 7 and 8.

“We were living a quiet life, just doing what we wanted,” Sylvia said.
Things began to change for the couple about two years ago when they started caring “on and off” for their grandson. After the child’s father passed away, the boy came to live with them more permanently.

But this was only the beginning.

“My daughter told us about a boy she knew of who was living with rotating carers,” Sylvia, who taught special education, explains.
“We hated the thought of a child living like that.”

Nick and Sylvia reached out and while “the wheels turned slowly,” they eventually met the boy.

“From March to October we had supervised and then unsupervised visits with him. Six weeks after that his placement in commercial care fell through due to no fault of his own and we were asked if he could stay for a night or two. That was last November and he has been with us ever since!

“Christmas was highly emotional. There was a lot going on in everyone’s life and it was an unsettled time – our grandson was dealing with his dad’s passing while our other boy was trying to work out what was going on and where he would be living. We were trying to adjust as well.

“The boys started getting on really, really well. Both were learning what each other was going through and supporting each other. We all started to adjust to our new lives.”

When COVID-19 hit, the bonds grew even stronger as they locked down as a group of four.

“We got into a really good groove,” Sylvia said. “It actually gave us the time to bond. It also gave Nick and I space to breathe and to confirm in our own minds that this was going to be a commitment. This wasn’t short term. This was a major change in our lives. We had time to think, do we really want this?”

The answer was yes!

So now, while Nick and Sylvia don’t have any holiday plans, Sylvia says she is fitter than ever.

“My friends go to exercise classes,” she said. ‘I don’t need to because I’m always running after the boys!

“On cold winter mornings when I would have slept in we’re up doing the school run.

“These two adorable, wonderful, boisterous and loud boys are with us now and we have a great little family. It doesn’t mean we don’t have issues at times but they are just gorgeous and we love them to bits. Things may change in the future but we are very happy with the way things are now. Our lives are full and rich”

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