Blogs, posts, sleepless nights, articles stuck to walls, Facebook, Oz Kiwi. Our household has all of a sudden been turned upside down in one short week.
Strange discussions in the dining room have somehow overshadow our regular daily yarns and routines. The family are somewhat on edge because Mum has all of a sudden changed, literally overnight. She’s obsessed with reading articles, on the computer non-stop and she has this really worried look on her face all the time. She’s not gone to the gym all week and she’s gone really quiet, which is unlike her. She’s completely preoccupied but we’re not sure why. 
Five teenage kids wonder what’s happening but they’re a little nervous to ask. Brand new packet of highlighters, blue tack, A4 paper and highlighted sheets of printed articles stuck to our newly painted dining room walls after we’d all been instructed to not touch them or else! 
There’s a sense of something peculiar going on. Nervously Daniel finally plucks up the courage to break the deafening sound of the keypad tapping and asks, “Um, what…ah why are those sheets stuck to the wall Edz?” I explain to him it’s just something I’m researching. 
I think he’s twigged on to some of our conversations, he’s good like that. Daniel is almost 14yrs old and has a hyper ability to sense when things aren’t quite right. He stammers and adds, “Umm….is it ummmm…..something to do with New Zealanders not being allowed to become Australian citizens or something?” I pause and reply without making any eye contact, “Yeah, something like that.” 

He feels a bit braver now and wants to know more so he asks, “Why is it a problem? Won’t Australia let you’s become citizens?” At this point I’m reminded that Daniel is extremely sensitive. I realise I need to be very careful as to how I respond.

Daniel has a huge sense of empathy and becomes very upset when he thinks someone has been treated unfairly. Daniel suffers from an extreme sense of low self esteem and rejection that cripples him in his life everyday. 

I find the right words and explain in a childlike language how it is for us New Zealanders who arrived after 2001. After our discussion Daniel turns to me and says these words, “So even though you live here, you’ve been here for 6 years, your whole family live here, you own a home, you work, you take care of us, that doesn’t matter?” I look at him with a reassuring look and say “Yeah, but it’s alright. So long as nothing goes wrong we’ll be fine.” Daniel replies, “So really you’re just like tourists?” I laugh and say, “Yep Daniel, we’re just like tourists!” 

Daniel is a beautiful young man who can be often challenging but we all love him very much. He has been a blessing to our whanau be it through distressing and unimaginable circumstances. If we can’t live here any longer due to unforeseen circumstances that are beyond our control we hope to be able to take Daniel back home with us where we can continue to care for him and be his Kiwi whanau. You see, Daniel is our Australian born foster son who now belongs with us. 

E. Anderson Adelaide, SA

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AuthorErina Anderson