Despite being unable to have more children of their own after the birth of their son, Idell knew she and her husband Rob had a lot more love to give. So, the Queensland couple decided to explore the world of fostering, unaware what lay ahead was going to be life-changing in more ways than one.
The pair were immediately put forward to care for sisters, Chantelle and Kelly, which Idell says they were “thrilled” about. “Chantelle and Kelly were young and came to us as the result of a placement breakdown,” the 54-year-old tells WHO. “Transitioning them into our care was a very difficult process but eventually they settled.”
While stepping back into parenthood with young children was always going to be challenging, the couple had been told that Chantelle had developmental delays, which added another hurdle to the process. “Chantelle has multiple disabilities and was only 3, so she didn’t understand a lot of what was happening,” Idell explains. “There were a lot of sleepless nights and a lot of tears.”
It wasn’t until Chantelle was 5 years old that Idell and Rob, 59, were able to obtain a full diagnosis, with the pair learning that her challenges were much more than delayed development. She has autism spectrum disorder level 3, intellectual impairment, and fetal drug and alcohol effect, meaning she needed care around the clock.
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