The first time she was called on to look after a child in need, Kathleen Hignett had butterflies.
In the five years since then, Ms Hignett has opened her door to countless children as a foster carer with Uniting.
"I think a lot of the time when I tell people they make it sound grandiose. They say 'I could never do that' or 'you must have a big house'. I don't have a big house, I have a big heart," she said.
"I think that when we make it sound important it lets us off the hook. If people would realise I'm an ordinary person and they're an ordinary person they would realise they could do this."
While becoming a foster parent was something she had always considered, Ms Hignett said it was after her divorce that she decided to make use of the time she had apart from her children.
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"I remember there was a poster in a window in Talbragar Street that had a photo of a lady and child baking cookies and is said 'she needs your help for the weekend' and I thought 'I can do that'. That's simplistic but I saw it and thought 'that's a sign'."
Ms Hignett is an emergency and respite foster carer. Essentially, she has the children short term. It may be for a week in the school holidays or just a day. Sometimes she'll give other carers respite by looking after a child for one day every month.
"I'm kind of the fun aunty," she said.
Rather than dealing with homework and doctors' appointments, Ms Hignett does fun things like going to Taronga Western Plains Zoo or Flip Out. Like the poster, sometime they bake together.
It could be hard having a child for just one night, but the foster carer said she made sure the needs of the child came first.
"I'm still human, I have feelings. But like with parenting, you have your rewards and you have your ups and downs. It's not all 'rainbows and lollipops'," Ms Hignett said.
"I think also we have to think sometimes that pursuing a meaningful life is more important than just the pursuit of happiness, because I think that's quite empty. I think a meaningful life it a better goal for me."
While sometimes one night felt small, Ms Hignett said that action had a ripple effect.
"It feels like a small, insignificant contribution caring for one little person in your home. But if that makes that child's life better, when they get to school it gives the teacher a better time, when they have a visit with their biological parent the parent can see that they're thriving, when I go to work and I'm happy that affects my clients," she said.
"We're all intrinsically connected even though we don't always have awareness of that."
The first time she was asked if she was available to look after a child, as expected there was a mixture of nerves and excitement.
"I had butterflies. I think it's very similar to being a parent. It's rewarding and challenging at the same time," Ms Hignett said.
When I child is in need of a home, Ms Hignett receives a call. She's usually told if it's a boy or a girl and their age. If she's free, the foster carer will ask for more information.
"I ask if they're allergic to any food so I know what to feed them and if they have any medications. There's also a 'my routines and me' chart so I can find out simple things that are important to children like if they like a bath or a shower or do they like television, just to give you a heads up on what their little world is like," the foster carer said.
One thing she has realised is that the children don't look visibly sad.
"With children, because of their age and the way trauma affects them, sometimes those feelings might come out more as behaviours, like they can't articulate themselves. That was a surprise to me. It shows us how resilient little people are," Ms Hignett said.
"Some kids might be sad and they might be angry, but it's not constant. It comes and goes and they share it on their own terms."
Uniting provides constant training on foster parenting, covering topics such as social media and the affect of trauma. But no matter how much training she does, Ms Hignett said she was constantly learning.
"I enjoy having the ongoing rapport with children and seeing them grow and develop," she said.
"It's like watching your heart run around outside your body. It's just beautiful."