Julie and Dom moved to Darwin over six years ago to pursue their careers, and never expected to fall in love again – let alone twice. Falling for the relaxed, tropical lifestyle of the Top End was easy, but it was winning the hearts of two little vulnerable girls that was the hardest and “best thing” they have ever done.
“We are lucky to have the girls and that they have fitted in well,” Julie said. “We really felt it was almost meant to be, getting the girls and how it all came together – it has definitely been rewarding.”
The couple decided to become foster carers in 2013, and after a rigorous approval process, Julie and Dom committed to offering long term care for children in need.
“For people who are unable to have children of their own, there is an option of overseas adoption, but there are all these children here that need someone to love them,” Julie said.
“We were flying out to Melbourne that day and the department called to say they had three-year-old twin girls who needed long term care.”
“We discussed it and even before we left Darwin airport, we told them we would love to have them.”
Within a few days of returning from that holiday, the couple met Anna and Zoe (not their real names) and within a couple of gentle meetings the twins spent their first night with their new foster parents.
“The first night they were at our house, it was Easter, so we played Easter bunny for them,” Julie said.
The girls were happy and fun loving, but they had also been exposed to trauma and had ongoing therapy for eight months.
Anna and Zoe recently performed in a ballet concert at a local community centre and Julie and Dom were amazed at what they had achieved.
“To think that they could get up on that stage after what they were like when we first had them was fantastic,” Julie said. “I just couldn’t believe how far they had come.”
While busy giving Anna and Zoe a normal life, Julie and Dom have appreciated support from Foster Carers Association NT.
“It is a comfort knowing the Association is there because I have been able to contact them a couple of times when we haven’t been sure about something or want clarification about things,” Dom said.
The girls see their parents and three sisters regularly and visit their grandmother in Katherine every school holiday.
“I think it is important to know where they come from and that they do have a mummy and daddy as well as a Julie and Dommy,” Julie said.
For Julie, the highlight of being a foster mother to Anna and Zoe is simple.
“To be able to perform parental duties and being able to go through those experiences with them and see them develop,” she said.
For Dom, it is loving the girls like they are their own.
“The only way you can love them is treat them as if they are your own children, they get spoilt but they also get discipline,” Dom said.
“Once you hear them tell you they love you and all that sort of stuff, it makes it all worthwhile.”