Marlie Burgemeister asks her four-year-old foster son why he wants to live with her.
Sitting on her lap and fiddling with his cowboy doll, Woody from Toy Story, he looks up and replies simply: “It’s true love.”
They both giggle and Marlie plants big kisses on his cheek and says: “too cute”.
Marlie and Craig Burgemeister, who have been foster carers with Key Assets since March 2013, attended a ceremony in Perth where they received the 2016 Les Robertson Carer of the Year Award.
The couple, who are both ex-military and have four children of their own, took in their first placement in 2013 – a family of five, two babies and three little boys. They stayed for four months and went on to live with their grandmother.
“A lady knocked on the door and she said “You the lady for the five kids?” and I said “I think so”,” Marlie laughed. “I just remember looking around going what have I done, but no it was fantastic, the best four months, just good times.
“We had the best selfie pictures from that – nine kids and me in the middle.
“Many people say to me how can you foster and then give them back, but I say how can you not foster and not make a difference.”
Now, the Burgemeister family on their third placement, are a foster family for three young children and hope to give them a “forever home”.
Marlie said charts detailing routines, bath times and chores are executed with military style precision.
“People say fostering is an extraordinary act, but you don’t have to be extraordinary to do it.”