Give it a go — Metos' story

“You learn a lot about life, about other children, and about yourself.”

As the eldest of 11 siblings, it's safe to say caring for children comes naturally to Metos.

After growing up in the Philippines, Metos settled in Australia and turned to foster caring where she opened her heart and home to children in need.

“It's quite fascinating the things you learn,” she says. “There's so much out there to learn. Each child is different.”

Being a single parent with English as her second language, Metos had a lot to consider before deciding to become a foster carer.

Driven by compassion and a willingness to help others, she discussed the idea of fostering with her three biological children, who were young teenagers at the time, so that they understood how it would work. As part of the usual application process, the department interviewed each of her children to ensure they were onboard.

Metos was also able to determine the age, gender and behaviours of children being placed in her care. She said the department will work with you to understand the needs of children you are caring for – their strengths, their weaknesses.

“They can be sometimes misbehaving, but it's still appropriate for their age,” she says.

Metos started her fostering journey by providing short breaks care (respite) for other carers, often over a weekend. She reflects on the very first day that a child arrived in her care.

“I feel nervous, I don't know how to start the conversation,” she recalls.

“But they told me in my training just be myself, just say hello first and make sure that they are ok, they're fine – then play a little bit and just get to know each other.”

Metos has now been fostering for more than a decade and enjoys sharing her own culture with the children in her care – particularly her love of food and karaoke.

“We love singing and we love karaoke a lot – sometimes we have a party and put the karaoke on and start singing,” she says.

While she has lots of fun with the children, Metos acknowledges that foster caring can be challenging. Many children in care come from traumatic backgrounds, having experienced abuse or neglect.

“You've got to have patience,” she says. “They're only children. They're quite emotional, they don't know what's going on. So, you as a carer have to give lots of support, love and lots of assurance that everything's going to be fine.”

Metos admits that it's not easy. “But it doesn't really stop you if you have a passion with children,” she says firmly.

“You can see them happy and settle. And some of the bad behaviour is not there anymore and you feel that you're doing a good job, rewarding job.”

Metos was reminded just how vital her role as a foster carer was, when she cared for a child who, due to past neglect, would secretly hoard food.

“The hardest part for me the first time, was just how to get this child to trust and feel safe,” she says.

“You have to tell them that you'll never run out of food here. You don't have to hide anything or put it in the drawer. All you have to do is just ask and you can have anything.”

Metos says one of the most rewarding parts of caring for children is being able to nurture them in a safe, loving environment. “Each week, month and year you can see them changing, and that's a joy.”

She enjoys keeping in touch with children she cared for who are now adults. Some reach out to her via social media, and others even visit her at Christmas.

As her own children have now grown up and moved out of home, Metos looks after a sibling group of three children and, with a smile, reflects on how they have grown in her care.

“I can see they're content in my care, in my place, and happy,” she says. “Seeing them, that they're doing good at school, they know the rules and boundaries, they learn something – it makes me feel like I'm doing fine.”

To others thinking about foster caring, Metos says there are many supports available that are invested in helping the children to thrive, and that carers are encouraged to reach out for support when they need it.

“You're not alone, there's always lots of people. The children get 100 per cent support from the department,” says Metos. “All you have to do is accept that this child needs help. You have to tell the department and you get all sorts of help.”

In addition to financial support, carers can also receive support from community organisations, like The Pyjama Foundation. Its Love of Learning mentoring program sees children in care matched with an adult volunteer, who visits them weekly with a focus on learning-based activities.

Metos says being a foster carer teaches you a lot about life and children, as well as yourself. She believes that those with love to give, who are looking to contribute to society should just give fostering a go.

“Don't be scared, just be yourself. Just give it a go. It's very rewarding.”

Foster carer Metos

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Call Queensland Foster and Kinship Care
1300 550 877

"You help them. It's quite rewarding."