Foster parents to welcome own baby
TERRIFIED, they arrive late at night, often with just the clothes they are wearing or a few precious items in a plastic bag and no idea when they will see familiar faces again: welcome to the world of foster children.
It is at this fragile point, often just hours after children have been emotionally removed from their homes, that foster parents like Warwick’s Brian and Amanda Nothdurft step in.
The Glennie Heights couple have been opening their home to distraught children for the Department of Community Services since November 2007.
Initially they took on the complex role because they were unable to have their own children.
“We tried for eight years to get pregnant without success and we both loved children so it seemed a very natural thing to do,” Mrs Nothdurft said.
Ironically now – after 15 foster children, including a child who arrived on the first day they were approved as sanctioned carers and remains with them – they are anxiously awaiting the arrival of their first child.
“I have seven weeks to go and I am a little tired of being pregnant, so we’re pretty excited,” Mrs Nothdurft said.
Her tiredness is understandable given the former school chaplain and her pastor husband have four children currently in their care ranging in age from 18 months to 10 years.
“It has been the most challenging and most rewarding thing to do,” she said.
“Of course we get attached to these kids; we couldn’t care for them properly if we didn’t.”
They have no plans to abandon their role as caregivers to some of the community’s most vulnerable after the arrival of their child.
“The kids have been concerned we might kick them out after the baby arrives, but there is no way we would do that,” Mr Nothdurft said.
“The single most important thing for us, is that they feel safe and secure here and we make sure what we offer is a very stable environment.”
Interestingly most of their foster children have come from within our region: Allora, Clifton, Killarney, Goondiwindi and Warwick.
“In most cases we have been able to establish good relationships with the children’s families; we emphasise we are caring for their kids, while they work through issues in their lives,” Mr Nothdurft said.
At a real level after the tears have subsided the couple gently explain their house rules.
“We aren’t Mum and Dad, we’re always Brian and Amanda and we’re always around if they need to talk, or cry or be reassured,” Mr Nothdurft said.
“We also have definite boundaries and expectations, because in many cases these kids are coming from very challenging places.
“So we have to consider the safety and wellbeing of everyone in our house.”