Lou and Amelia

Just give it a go – Lou and Amelia's story

At the end of the day, all these little souls need to know is that they're safe and they're loved. It can be as simple as that.

Small business owners Lou and Amelia had always wanted the experience of caring for a child. As an LGBTIQ+ couple they had researched their options, but nothing had felt right until they discovered foster caring.

“The fact that there were just so many kids who needed a safe space, it just made sense,” Lou says.

While fostering was an exciting concept to explore, the couple was also cautious about how their enquiry would be received, being a same sex couple.

“I immediately thought that there would be a barrier because we did go through a religious organisation to get into foster caring,” recalls Amelia. “I did wonder if there was going to be some judgement there, but we were so welcomed as soon as we came in.”

Lou acknowledges that due to their own life experiences, some members of the LGBTIQ+ community might even have a unique skillset for understanding trauma, which can help them as foster carers.

“I think there's an empathy and a vulnerability there that really helps you connect, with giving someone a safe space,” Lou says.

After completing an enquiry online, the couple was surprised by the pace of the next few steps.

“We thought it was going to be a much longer process,” Lou recalls. “Pretty much as soon as we put in the enquiry, someone reached out and spoke to us, then we filled in some forms and they came out and met with us.”

All foster carers complete training prior to their approval, and additional focused training during their first year as an approved carer.

“I found the training super helpful, not being a parent myself,” says Amelia.

“The training was great to just give us insights into what to expect, how to respond, how to react to different behaviours. It was just really nice to have that education and training going into it, so you know where you stand.”

“Especially learning a little bit about how to care for kids with trauma too,” Lou adds.

Soon after they had completed their training, the couple were approached with the opportunity to care for 10-month-old twins. While they wanted to say yes, Lou and Amelia took the time to think about the logistics of how they would balance caring for two infants while still running their business. Their agency and the department were supportive of their decision that the placement wasn't right for them.

“They really want to make sure it's working for you,” says Lou. “They also know that if they put someone in your care that isn't ideal, then it's not going to be ideal for anyone. You are really encouraged to say, 'actually no, this isn't right for me.'”

Lou and Amelia soon started caring for a young girl. While the process for each placement varies, on this occasion the couple met with the child's family first before the child came to meet them, their dog and to see their home. Amelia recalls the girl was open and curious. “She was quite easy to welcome in,” Amelia says.

“One thing that we really used as a tool was just to sit down at the end of every day and talk about the favourite part of the day. That was a good way for us all to get to know each other better. And she really settled with that routine every day.”

The couple also think there are a few qualities that help you adjust to fostering.

“Compassion, patience and just an open mind,” lists Amelia. “Definitely the ability to be flexible.”

“And just having empathy and being able to play,” Lou adds.

The support the couple has had since the start of their placement has helped them adjust to life with a foster child.

“There's a whole number of support workers that you have throughout the process,” explains Lou. “There's a pool of other carers who we ended up connecting with who intimately understand what you're going through as well.”

Lou and Amelia have learnt to lean on their training to manage any behavioural concerns that occur with the young girl they're fostering. Play therapy for their child is provided by the department, while continuous training and learning opportunities are also provided to carers through their carer agency.

“You're just so supported,” explains Lou. “You're never put in a situation where you're not comfortable.”

“We do receive financial support for having someone in our care, which is great,” Lou adds. “It means I've been able to step back from the business and just do part-time hours because the support makes up for the rest.”

Lou explains their child's medical, day care and after school care costs are also covered by the carer allowance.

Like many foster carers, Lou and Amelia maintain regular contact with the family of the child in their care.

“I don't judge anyone for where they are in life,” says Amelia. “It's a tough time, sometimes. And you go through ebbs and flows, and sometimes it's just not your best time, and that can happen to anyone.”

“Our little one's family is beautiful, and they've just had a rough time,” Lou adds.

“She has a beautiful relationship with her family as well. At the moment, every second weekend she's with her family, so that's quite a nice balance. We miss her, but we have time then, to do our thing.”

The couple agree their fostering journey has been accompanied by reward and self-discovery.

“Just seeing the development that [the child] has made in that time has been incredible,” Amelia reflects. “Knowing each day that you're doing something for someone else is kind of a nice way to get out of bed and spend your day.”

Lou is grateful they've had the chance to care for the young girl. “It might not be for long-term, but it's definitely fulfilled more than I ever thought it would,” she says. “It's been by far the most rewarding thing I've ever done and may ever do.”

For those thinking about fostering, Lou says just give it a go, because there are so many beautiful little souls who just need that safe space, a home, and a hug. She adds, “even if you're not sure if caring for a small person is for you, you can do respite (short breaks care) or short-term to try it and see.”

“If you are in a position where you can offer that for a night, a week, month, year, then do it.”

Amelia agrees. “Entering into the foster system can be daunting at first, and it has its challenges for sure. But as a whole, it's definitely worth giving it a try. You never know who you'll meet along the way.”

Apply online

Call Queensland Foster and Kinship Care
1300 550 877

It's been by far the most rewarding thing I've ever done and may ever do.