"Stop thinking and make that phone call."
That's the advice Kate* has for anyone who has been considering becoming a foster carer.
"It's amazing how many children are out there who need a loving, caring environment, and foster carers can give that."
Kate has been a foster carer for 15 years. She looks after the children with her daughter Sarah*.
It started when she lost her husband and didn't enjoy the house being quiet. Kate also realised she had plenty of empty rooms available.
"I just wanted to fill the house again," she told the Daily Liberal.
ALSO MAKING NEWS:
For Sarah, fostering was a way to give her only child more children to play with around the house.
In 15 years, they've cared for about 85 children, from long term care to respite.
And while Kate is almost in her 70s, she said she had no plans to stop.
"Look to be quite honest there are times when [Sarah] has taken the kids out and I've sat at home. It drives me nuts. It's too quiet," Kate said.
"It's the most rewarding thing you can do to have a child who's sacred and frightened come into your home, because we're strangers. And to see them start to relax and grow. It might take a while. But you get your first smile, and then your first 'thank you' and all those little bits and pieces warm your heart and make you realise you're doing something right.
"I say to anybody if you've got an empty home and you want some life back into it, fostering is the way to go."
Sarah describes the foster caring experience as "a rollercoaster ride you want to go on".
"You want to see those highs and watch them grow from the lows. You see kids grow to be beautiful adults," she said
It's also made the women learn more about themselves.
"I still haven't found my patience. But I've found I'm a lot stronger person than I thought I was," Sarah said.
"I learnt how to advocate and stand up fro myself and the children. I was a bit of a mouse beforehand. And I've learnt self-care, and how to think about yourself at times."
Regardless of how long the children are officially in their care, Kate said it was a lifetime commitment.
They've seen children they've cared for grow up to have their own children.
And every time they open up their home, they welcome more than just the child who is in care.
"You've got to realise when you become a foster parent it's more than just the kid. It is siblings, it's their family. You've got to help them find their identity and try and keep it," Sarah said.
At the end of the day, both women say fostering is one of the most rewarding things someone can do.
"Life's not simple. You've got to have a bit of craziness to stay young, healthy and happy," Sarah said.
Life Without Barriers is in urgent need of foster carers.
To find out more, head to the website: lwb.org.au.
*Names of the foster carers have been changed to protect the identity of the children in their care.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: