When Natalie* contracted a staph infection in her spine and couldn't walk following a routine laparoscopy, she and her partner Grant* had to face some hard truths.
Although the laparoscopy revealed no medical reason why they couldn't conceive, the couple were devastated that their dream of a family was proving so elusive.
Helping a child in need
"The continual hope and disappointment of trying to conceive really took it out of me. I had to do something," Natalie said.
"When I recovered from the infection and could walk again, we decided to foster. We had so much love to give and wanted to make a difference to a child's life."
The first child placed with Natalie and Grant was a 19-month-old boy who stayed with them for nine months.
One year later, Luke*, who was ten days old at the time, was placed with the couple, initially as a short term but indefinite placement.
Committing for life
When Luke was three years old, Natalie and Grant discovered that he is on the autism spectrum.
This didn't change a thing as the couple had no doubt they wanted to adopt Luke as a permanent member of their family.
"We made a commitment to Luke," Grant said. "We love him as our own and want to give him stability and continuity."
"The regular visits from our Challenge Community Services case worker, and the support services the school provides have helped enormously.
"We agonised over where to send Luke to school but decided on the local public school as they had the best supports."
The strong support network the couple has built through the school, Luke's therapists, family and friends allows Luke to get the right support to help him thrive.
Our chaotic, noisy home
Now that the adoption has been finalised, Natalie and Grant are Luke's legal parents.
Natalie and Grant also now have two biological sons.
"Luke has grown up with our other two sons and especially depends on Jaydon* who is the middle sibling of the three," Natalie said.
"We do hope Luke will continue to have a connection with his birth family.
"Luke's mother knows we love Luke and we know she loves him too.
"I still can't believe after five years of hope and crushing disappointment that I have a noisy, chaotic house full of boys. I would not trade it for anything!"
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- *Identifying details have been changed