It was ‘a spare room and broken heart’ that spurred Victoria, 47, and John, 56, of southern NSW to become foster carers five years ago.

Victoria’s eldest daughter, Rachael, from her first marriage, had chosen to move in with her dad and so there was an empty room that the downcast mother wanted to fill again with the sounds of children playing.

John was supportive of the plan as was Victoria’s younger daughter, Jessica. Victoria was then managing an antique store in the country town where she lives and so she approached a caseworker about becoming an immediate and respite carer so fostering would fit around her work.

Her first foster kids were two older primary school children, whom she still sees and who are “doing really well.” Since 2005, the couple have fostered more than 50 children who have found stability and love in their sunny, antique-filled home.

Orphaned at a young age, Victoria didn’t have the happiest childhood with her grandparents, but believes “despite a bad situation, you can still become a decent, loving person.” She is determined to bring love and generosity to her foster children.

Recently Victoria has chosen to provide long-term care for children and a few months ago, she and John adopted a four-year-old boy, Oliver, who had been with them since he was a baby. “It was done with the support of his birth mother who wanted the best for him,” she says.

Victoria and John also care for 16-month-old twin girls on a long-term basis, one of whom has special needs.

Victoria says she and John love being foster carers and her daughters have always been supportive (and happily, the one who left is back home again). “It’s wonderful to see a child bloom when they are in a normal, loving, household and to know you are helping to give them that positive outcome,” says Victoria.