hard work, very hard work. I know a couple who have done it for years. They are quiet, hardworking, devout without making an issue of it.
They have done long term foster care and short term foster care. Some of the children have been disabled - which is how I came to know them - some of them have been disabled with behaviour issues and some of them have had behaviour issues.
They have handled it all and given the children in their care all they possibly could. They have not, as some people believe, "done it for the money". It has cost them more than the department which handles those things has ever been prepared to pay them. The husband still goes to work but the wife has always been a full time carer. I admire them and, I think, so do most people.
Better than that though is the fact that many of the children who have been cared for by them still regard them as "Mum and Dad". Not all of them have been a success story of course but many of them have. They have grown up, married, had kids of their own and taken them back to "Mum and Dad".
They are going to a wedding this weekend, one of "theirs" who qualified as an accountant earlier this year. He's got a good steady job and he's marrying a girl who is a nurse. I've met them both and I think it is a relationship which will work well. "Mum and Dad" do too.
But there was a moment last weekend when they thought they might not get to the wedding. "Dad" was on his way home from work when someone opened a car door in the path of his bicycle without looking to see what was coming. "Dad" ended up in hospital with three cracked ribs, a broken collarbone and a badly sprained wrist. He had a night in hospital.
It was a very nasty incident - and a very good one.
One of "their kids" picked him up from the hospital. Another came around and mowed the lawn. Two more arrived together with a DVD he could "watch with the kids".
And then one of "their kids" - the one who had caused them years of anxiety and who had been in all sorts of trouble and that they thought was their biggest failure turned up.
"My heart sank" his "Mum" admitted, "I wondered what had happened now because we hadn't heard from him in three years."
But no, he had turned up because he had heard about the accident and he wanted to be sure that "Dad" all right. Was it really three years since he had been in touch? It didn't seem like that. He had gone "up north". Yes, he had a job and it "paid pretty good".
He had flown down from the middle of Australia for the long weekend - just to make sure "Dad" was all right. He drove them to the wedding.