In the pursuit of parenthood, my husband and I explored all the options for the opportunity to look after little people.
From fertility treatments to adoption to becoming the Father Abraham of godparents (to date we have six godchildren between us), everything was viable, but what was optimal was children of our own.
As you know, she took her sweet time to get to us. But Millie Valentine is now here in all her adorable splendour and we have enjoyed every moment of her 1,339 days on this planet. Thank you for sharing the journey with us.
In the meantime, it was back on the infertility train as we tried to give her a sibling so she isn’t so spoilt – I mean, alone. As the years dribble by and the options run out due to age, my husband and I decided to take some steps to become foster parents. It was something we’ve always wanted to do and on State of Origin night we finally took the plunge.
While party pies and beer were being eaten and drunk in homes eager for QLD to win, we sat at an information night in a church hall with an organisation eager to win our hearts and safe homes for the sake of children in need.
Interestingly, while we wanted to learn how to care for other children, it proved impossible to get one to care for ours on football’s night of nights. So with colouring books packed in a bag we tentatively took Millie along for the ride. In the car we let her know that she would need to be on her best good girl behaviour as she would be sitting in on an important adult meeting.
We sat up the back of the room and set up her temporary art studio. Lying on the floor at our feet she coloured in unicorns, chatted happily to herself and popped up occasionally to tell me a secret that I absolutely must know that instant. “Daddys do farts and Mummys do fluffs but Georgia’s mum calls them Pop-offs and isn’t that funny?” she whispered so loudly that I doubt she will ever have a career in the secret service.
The educator pushed through her information over the din of my child’s noisy racket while potential foster parents asked heartfelt questions like “how hard is it to give them back?”
With such seriousness going on in the room, Millie sang like no one was listening. Danced like no one was watching. Spilt her drink bottle all over the floor. Crunched food louder than a building being demolished. And then, before I could stop her, she walked up to the front of the room and took her carefully coloured-in unicorn picture and gave it as a gift to the poor woman trying to do the presentation.
Her self-confidence oozed out of every pore as she proudly pointed out to ‘her audience’ that she had neatly coloured in all the lines, and asked if anyone else would like to commission her work.
I was more than a little embarrassed. If this was the first test of our parenting skills in front of people who assess parents for a living, we had failed. We couldn’t even prove we could contain our own three-year-old who was excited to be out late at an important adult meeting, let alone a foster child.
As Millie sashayed back to her seat, saying hello to all the strangers she passed, promising that she would now draw them a picture, I leaned over to Gerard and said “Are you sure you want to do this all over again?!”
He looked at me, rubbed my shoulder and said “Absolutely”.