Sisterly love: Linda Tierney is trying to find a permanent family for two young siblings from Hurstville. Picture: Jane Dyson
Linda Tierney works with children who deserve a 'forever family’ of their own.
The Barnardos Australia case manager helps find adoptive parents and permanent family care for children who cannot live with their birth families.
She is trying to find permanent care for 10 children, including Hurstville siblings Kiara*, 7, and Anna*, 6.
The sisters were referred to Barnardos’ Find-a-Family program as toddlers and desperately want to stay together.
For 25 years, the program has been finding ‘forever families’ for children who have been permanently removed from their birth families by the court because it is not safe for them to stay at home.
Children who come into the program may have experienced neglect and/or abuse and have specific needs.
The Hurstville sisters require a carer with an understanding of developmental delays caused by autism, who will promote the siblings’ Fijian-Indian heritage and be a stay-at-home parent/carer for at least 12 months to help the sisters settle into their new home.
Kiara and Anna love all things Disney and identify with Elsa and Anna from the Disney movie Frozen.
"Kiara is so warm and loving and bubbly," Miss Tierney said.
She takes such good care of her little sister and wants to be a nurse when she is older. Anna has autism and started kindy this year and has gone from strength to strength. Her understanding has increased and she is now telling her foster carer about all her friends."
The Find-a-Family program accepts applications from single people and couples, including married, defacto and same-sex.
Barnados organises for carers to attend regular contact visits and meet birth family members.
The number of adoptions in Australia has decreased over the years and finding families for siblings is particularly challenging.
In 2013-14, there were 317 adoptions in Australia — the lowest on record — a quarter of which were by known carers such as foster carers.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare believes the long-term fall in adoption numbers could be attributed to legislative changes and improvements in local adoption practices, which make it easier for children to stay with their family or in their country of origin.
Miss Tierney is currently trying to find permanent homes for eight other children, including three other sets of siblings.
National Adoption Awareness Week, November 8 to 14, aims to increase ethical and expedient adoption in Australia.
Barnardos Australia: 1800 663 441, barnardos.org.au/adoption.
(This article was first published in The St George and Sutherland Leader and was written by Deborah Field.)
*Not their real names