Donald Mathias

A Desire to Help—Donald and Millicent's story

Love is the key ingredient for Donald Mathias and Millicent Okoh. “The love we are giving them and the return of love to us.”

“Our main motivation is to help out the young kids who need help, who need a home. And that's what we're doing. And we love it, we love it,” says Donald.

The couple were inspired to help children in need when they saw a friend providing foster care in her home and were overwhelmed by the great work she was doing. They knew they wanted to do the same.

The children who join their family are met with an awe-inspiring amount of love and dedication.

“We give them our full assurance that they are safe here, that their problem is our problem, that we will make sure we protect them, and that if anything bothers them they should let us know because we are here for them. And that we will journey with them no matter what it takes,” says Donald.

“What we love about what we are doing is that they are happy and they are safe and they are protected,” says Millicent.

Donald and Millicent grew up in Africa and are thankful they had the opportunity to move to Australia.

“A lot of people, back in Africa, have never had the opportunities that kids here have today,” says Donald.

Having seen people suffer great hardships, the couple were adamant they wanted to give back to the community that welcomed them.

They learned about the foster care process through a Queensland foster care agency. While the training did, at times, make them question if they were up to the job, they have certainly risen to the challenge.

Donald and Millicent took great satisfaction in ensuring one child in their care was given the opportunity to have speech therapy and receive the help she needed to improve her language development.

“We noticed a great improvement in her speech,” says Donald.

Juggling work commitments and the needs of the children isn’t always easy.

“At times, you have to forfeit your work because you have to help the kids. Or you can't go to your work because you have to go to certain places with your kids,” says Donald.

But the reward for the hard work is immeasurable. “In your heart, you know that you are doing a good job, that what you are doing, people appreciate it and it's going to keep you going and even wanting to do more for them,” says Donald.

When a child moves on from foster care it brings about mixed emotions for carers who have formed strong bonds.

“It's hard for us saying goodbye because we have been together a year and we have battled for them,” says Millicent.

“It is very hard when they leave,” agrees Donald, “but our main happiness is, when they leave, they are leaving to live a good life. They are leaving with hope that things will be better. To us, too, that's how we feel. We know that we have done a good job and they will carry on with it in their life.”

Donald and Millicent try to focus on the positive side of children leaving their care. As one child moves forward in their journey, it means they are able to help another child, and they are always ready to open their hearts and their home.

“It is going to create room for other young people who need help,” says Donald, “we will be ready to help anybody that comes.”

The couple hope any child that comes into their lives leaves knowing how much they meant to them.

“What I would like them to remember is the love we give them. They should be able to grow up with it and give love to people,” says Donald.

“What we want them to remember is the way that we care for them,” agrees Millicent.

For this couple, the affection they receive from the young children in their care more than compensates for the hard work.

“You see the good work you are doing in the faces of the children you are taking care of. They feel happy to be with you because of what you are doing in their lives,” says Donald.

“When you see them smiling, we know we are doing good work for them and they appreciate it.”