Rocky mother opens heart to kids in need after tragic loss
SEVERAL years after losing a 19-year-old son to cancer in 1983, Rockhampton's Nita Waugh decided to expand her heart and mind.
For the past 20 years, the mother of eight has opened her heart and home to some of the region's most in-need children.
Ms Waugh is an Anglicare Central Queensland foster carers.
The work of she and all carers across the region was celebrated during Child Protection Week last week, September 3-9.
In 1997, Ms Waugh was approached by a friend who worked in the disability sector to consider becom- ing a foster carer.
After careful consideration with her family, she accepted.
"Seeing the children in my care grow into young adults and live a positive and healthy life makes my heart extremely full," she said.
"I have been fortunate
to stay in touch with many
of the children I have cared for and have even been invited to weddings and other special occasions,
and often receive phone
calls and visits."
But not every day was easy, even for an experienced carer.
"Some of the children in my care had negative and destructive behaviours which I have tried to forget over the years," Ms Waugh said.
"The hurt and anger within them sometimes exploded and it was my role to remain strong and work with them to develop strategies to ease their pain.
"Sometimes all they needed was a warm hug and affirmation that they were loved, safe and secure."
These days, between taking time out mastering crosswords and Sudoku, Ms Waugh reflects on the past two decades.
"Fostering is something that I would do again and again if I had my time over and given the chance, I would start much earlier in my life," she said.
"Through this role, I was able to allow my passion to become my purpose and I would encourage anyone considering opening their homes to our local youths, to do so."
Child Protection Week aims to promote the value of children and focus attention on the issues of child abuse and neglect.
Foster carers provide homes for children and young people while they are subject to Child Protection Orders.
The children range from newborns to teenagers, and may need to stay for a night, a few weeks, or for many years.
Are you considering becoming a foster carer?
Contact Anglicare Central Queensland on 1300 769 814 or visit anglicarecq.org.au.