The priceless gift of family life

Sitting down to afternoon tea with Belinda, Crystal and Lily was like most conversations involving a five-year-old − plenty of questions, laughter and cake crumbs on the floor. Yet in many ways the discussion that unfolded was anything but typical.

For me it was truly enlightening. My heart swelled as I saw firsthand the positive and life-changing impacts of permanency planning, the strength that comes from unity and a type of love I’d never witnessed.

Just weeks earlier, Belinda and her husband Darren had become the adoptive parents of Lily. For the Waratah West couple it had been a long road, with Crystal first offering the opportunity to adopt Lily whilst she was pregnant and had realised she would be unable to care for her.

With six other children in foster care at the time, Crystal said she couldn’t bear the thought of another child “getting lost in the system”.

“I wanted her to go somewhere she’d be loved and get what she needed,” Crystal said.

It was a selfless move and one that would provide Belinda and Darren the opportunity to parent together, after losing their three-week-old son, Jack, in 2007.

Since Lily was four days old, Belinda and Darren have cared for her, providing her with a loving and safe home. With the support of CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning, they have raised a friendly, caring and outgoing daughter and nurtured her ongoing relationship with Crystal and other members of her biological family.

Like CatholicCare, Belinda and Darren support the NSW Government’s plans to make it easier for foster families to adopt or become guardians of children in their care. This type of security is exactly what children and young people need to thrive. Open adoption and guardianship can deliver to children, young people and their foster families a sense of openness and a better chance of maintaining good relationships with birth parents when restoration is no longer possible.

Reflecting on their journey and the open adoptions process, Belinda said, “To be able to give a child like Lily a stable home for life is priceless.”

To enquire about adoption please phone (02) 4979 1120.

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Lizzie Watkin Image
Lizzie Watkin

Lizzie is Team Leader Content for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.