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The Heart of Fostering Children

Updated On: April 25, 2024

Irina Castellano’s Inspiring Journey of Over 80 Lives Transformed

In this compelling episode centered on the fostering children theme, Corey engages in a heartfelt conversation with the committed foster parent, Irina Castellano. Having fostered more than 80 lives, Irina, an expatriate child herself with experiences from various countries, brings her rich personal journeys along. The episode probes into her driving factors, the obstacles she faced during the journey, the rewards, and most importantly, the transformation it brought upon her family. 

  • Irina’s Awakening: Irina’s introduction to the realm of fostering came at the age of 15, upon reading “A Child Called It” by Dave Pelzer. She realized the urgent need for foster homes after discovering the harsh reality of children at times having to reside in motel rooms.
  • Challenges in Australia: In Australia, the figures of children in care hover around 45-47k, with 17-19k based in New South Wales. The need for foster homes amplifies as even the young ones often do not find placement.
  • Screening Process: The screening procedure is intricate, evaluating aspirants’ upbringing and personal stories. The process aims to select the most suitable candidates apt for the role.
  • Personal Experience: The episode also brings forward the personal journey of Irina, from being an expatriate child to stepping into the world of fostering. 
  • Adoption in Australia: For adoption in Australia, certain specifications like citizenship and age are prerequisites, points which Irina believes need reconsideration.
  • Irina’s Future: Irina aspires to retire in Australia, but the decision might revolve around where their children choose to settle.
  • Closing Remarks: The episode concludes with Irina acknowledging other stalwarts in the fostering community, especially those handling children with special needs.

“The fundamental philosophy behind fostering is providing a warm, caring environment for children who need it the most. It’s not always easy, but the impact you can make on a child’s life makes every challenge worthwhile,” Irina Castellano.

Reflecting on the profound experience of fostering children, Irina Castellano’s story is both inspiring and encapsulating. This dedicated woman’s remarkable journey has helped transform the lives of over 80 children who needed a caring home and loving family. 

Irina’s Inspirational Journey 

With a natural affinity towards children and a heart full of love, Irina knew early on she was made for something special. As a foster parent, she embraced the challenge of providing a safe, nurturing environment to those children who needed it the most. She understood that fostering is more than just providing shelter; it’s about giving these children a chance to flourish and cultivate their potential. 

“Each child is unique, each with their own story and dreams. Fostering is about respecting their individuality and nurturing their unique qualities,” she explained.

Irina’s Impact 

Over the years, Irina has left an indelible mark on the lives of numerous children. Her commitment and dedication have been a beacon of hope for many, providing them with the family love and support they craved. 

“I really feel [for] these kids and I would like to find more people to actually open up their homes and take these kids in.”

She first started fostering children almost 23 years ago, and since then, her life has revolved around these children. The happiness she derives from providing a safe and loving environment for them has pushed her to continue growing in this endeavor. 

An Early Beginning 

Having been aware of the issues from a young age due to her expat upbringing, Irina’s passion for fostering began at the age of 15 when she first read a book about a deprived child. Her inner desire to help such helpless children manifested into a promise she made to herself – to foster children one day and even adopt them. 

“At the age of 15, when I read that book, I was just really shocked…and I decided then and there that not only would I want my own kids, but that I would love to foster one day and also maybe even adopt.”

Challenges in Fostering Children

Although fostering children comes with various challenges, the reward of making a difference in the lives of those children is far greater. Irina describes how the children once in foster care start getting younger and younger, expressing her concern over having babies and children under five that have no homes to be placed in. Among these, children in sibling groups also get displaced forcing them to separate and live in separate households. This has been a sticking point for Irina who strives not just for homes, but for family togetherness for these kids.

“But a lot of people don’t know that these kids have no homes to go to when they come into foster care. And the kids are getting younger and younger that are not being placed.”

The Journey and Adoption 

Irina, along with her husband, has gone on to adopt two children. Their family now includes a biological son, two adopted daughters, and numerous foster children who came into their lives over the years. The family, she says, is now complete, and they wouldn’t have it any other way. 

“We now have adopted two kids, and we have our biological son… and for us, our family is complete.”

The Future 

Through her fostering journey, Irina has learned so much about childcare, parenting, and more importantly, about love and compassion. Her experience and knowledge gained over the years are things she actively utilizes to help new and aspiring foster parents. Going forward, she hopes to continue fostering and also help others foster.


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