Rose Pearse

A life changing journey—Rose's story

When Rose Pearse became a foster carer she never could have imagined the path her life would take.

A desire to contribute to her community saw Rose take steps towards becoming a respite carer initially and then a foster carer.

“I’d always had a lot of children in my life but I felt like becoming a foster carer was something where I could make a real difference to the lives of children who really needed someone to step up for them,” she says.

With a stable home and job, Rose felt providing respite care to school age children would be a great option for her.

“That was a really good introduction to the world of foster care,” she says, “and as I went along, I was asked to care for children with many different needs.”

Rose was asked if she would consider caring for a newborn baby. A decision which she says set her life on a new path.

“That wasn’t something I had planned for myself so I really had to think hard about it because it did mean taking leave from my work.”

Taking that time off gave her the chance to care for children of different ages and backgrounds. Some children stay for a short time, while others, like the baby she was asked to care for, stay for years.

“I always felt like if I want to be a foster carer, then I want to be able to say ‘okay this child can come here and they can be here for as long as they need to be’,” says Rose.

“When a child comes into my care I really do open my heart to them and I give them whatever I can to help them on their journey.”

The journey Rose takes with each child is as unique as the children themselves. Over a three year period, one of the children in her care was diagnosed with autism. While this has presented new challenges, Rose says it has also made her a better person.

Rose admits providing foster care has its emotional highs and lows. When a child moves on it is undeniably difficult for carers.

“It puts you in a state of grief and loss,” says Rose, “and you have to find ways to go through those processes and recover from them because you’ve still got other children who are in your care and who need your full attention.”

“There’s no question that it’s a heartbreaking process to say goodbye to a child but you have to work through that and put the supports in place to be able to deal with that part of the carer's role.”

A few years ago Rose started taking teenagers into her home.

“That’s added a really different element to our little family,” she says. “They have opinions and views on the world and so you can engage in some great kind of discussions about ideas and who they are and who they want to be.”

These teenagers have often had to be very independent.

“They don’t need help so much as they need guidance,” she says.

“That doesn’t mean they still don’t need that loving home and that safe place to come home to, even when everything goes really badly in life.”

Rose sees her role as not only to help the children in her care but to work in partnership with parents.

“We’re in it together. I’m not just helping the child, I’m supporting the family through their most challenging times.”

She sees real reward in a family being reunited.

“If that means they can come through this difficult phase of their life and get back together again and go on then that’s a job well done.”

In long term placements carers can form relationships with not just the child’s parents, but grandparents, aunts and uncles.

“It's like two families joining together,” says Rose. “[You] didn't necessarily choose each other, but you're in it together because this is the child or the children who are, you know, they're in the middle of that little Venn diagram.”

Rose embraces this interaction with family.

“They have other family out there who are part of their lives but there’s no set amount of love available in a child’s life. There’s enough for everyone to love them and the more people who love them the better.”

The love that Rose gives to the children in her care is returned with interest.

“I often say I get more out of it than the kids, and kids get a lot,” she laughs.

While she admits it is often a hard earned love, it is a powerful force.

“There’s nothing quite like having a child’s love and I get a lot of that love so that’s pretty amazing.”