Home' Scoop : Scoop 52 Contents 74 SCOOP AUTUMN 2010
Angela sweeps her fair hair back from her face and
clutches the little plastic beaker in front of her.
"We always knew that we wanted to look after
kids, to help society somehow but didn't know
what direction that would take us. Then seven
years ago we got involved with fostering, in par-
ticular short-term emergency care cases, and that
was it. We were hooked."
Angela, 38, and her husband James, 43, live
in a modest home in the northern suburbs. There
are photographs of their two children, one natu-
ral, one fostered, plastered on the kitchen walls,
colourful artwork on the fridge.
There's an air of effortless love about the
place, a relaxed approach to leaving the vacuum-
ing for now because there's fun to be had with
Play-Doh and Lego.
"We knew that we could be called in the
middle of the night to take a child, which was fine
with us at the time. We didn't have children of our
own and had plenty of energy," she says.
The children would often arrive with nothing,
just the clothes they stood in, desperately in need
and yet curiously happy to fit in to a new home.
"Some would call me mum straight away, but
bonding for me was never a problem. The stress
is knowing that sooner or later they'll leave you
and go somewhere else."
Temporary care arrangements suited the
couple well for a few years, leading them to some
rewarding relationships with children of all ages,
including a sibling group of five -- "so amazing,
like a team, looking out for each other" -- two
sisters who they adored during their stay of four
months, and a little boy who would "only eat
green things and sit under the table."
"By the time he left, he was singing every day
and so much more confident," she says proudly.
Then Nicky, an adorable one-year-old, arrived,
and everything changed for Angela and James.
"We didn't know his story to begin with, but
eventually we've learned more about him. In
some ways I wish I could foster his mum too, but
of course we can't. We know that we will have him
until he is 18, which makes a big difference to the
way you can operate as a family.
"He sees his mother once a month, so there's
still contact. We hope we will break the cycle in
his family because he has time with a psychologist
every week, he's got Wanslea, his school are very
supportive and he's got us."
Angela says every child is like a puzzle, which
you have to somehow help become complete with-
out necessarily being able to see the big picture.
"It's a really great challenge, to get them up
and running with proper food, immunisations,
getting the nits out, that sort of thing. The changes
you see in a pretty short time are really rewarding."
Now with a child of their own, Angela and
James are relishing time with their ready-made
family of two little boys, raised as siblings yet
aware that Nicky will always have the right to
know where he came from and why.
"As he gets older, he may have more ques-
tions about who he is, and because we've got
Wanslea to help us, we'll be able to answer him
honestly and supportively."
Somehow, says Angela, society's not doing it
right, so if you can foster, give it a try.
"Once you start, you'll find you can't stop. The
positives totally outweigh the negatives, the fact
that you are making such a difference to a child's
life story, adding the pieces which will one day
finish their puzzle."
ANGELA SAYS EVERY CHILD IS LIKE A PUZZLE,
WHICH YOU HAVE TO SOMEHOW HELP BECOME
COMPLETE WITHOUT NECESSARILY BEING ABLE
TO SEE THE BIG PICTURE.
Cystic fibrosis is the most common, life threat-
ening, and recessive, genetic condition affecting
One in 25 Western Australians carry the CF
gene and it is estimated that one baby every four
days in Australia is born with both CF genes result-
ing in the chronic condition. CF affects all organs
in the body but has the worst effect on the lungs,
clogging them with thick, sticky mucus, which nar-
rows the airways and makes breathing difficult and
eventually impossible. The average life expectancy
of someone with CF is 35 years. Many die younger.
When mum of two Wendy Endebrock-Brown
discovered her son Cody had the disease, it
knocked the whole family for six.
"The diagnosis of cystic fibrosis was a terrible
shock. We knew nothing about the condition and
in the middle of our shock, grief and concern for
our child we had to get to grips with medications,
physio techniques and a bombardment of informa-
tion on how to live with a CF child and what the
future would hold. It all felt like a bad dream," she
says. Rather than retreat from the world, Wendy
and husband James decided to try to do something
practical to change their son s future -- they began
to fundraise for cystic fibrosis research.
Wendy approached four other mothers of CF
children and, with their help, organised the first
WA is full of great organisations
doing things to make a real differ-
ence in our community. Whether
it's donating money, expertise or
time, there are plenty of ways to
make a real difference.
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