Foster Parents are one of a kind

By PSS | Posted: Monday March 1, 2021

Heather and Pita Petelo became foster parents for Family Works in September 2016 and haven't looked back since.

The Petelo’s are a young couple with energy for caring for children. Pita is of Tokelauan decent and grew up in Wellington. Heather is Canadian and grew up in British Columbia and studied at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver becoming a teacher majoring in science.

Heather met Pita while working in Tokelau. The couple are now settled in Invercargill where Heather works at Southland Boys High School and Pita at McGlynn Homes.

Since 2016 they have fostered a number of children through Family Works and have formed a special relationship with each of their foster children. The Petelo’s offer children a calm loving home environment where they can settle and begin to focus on things that may not been readily available to them. There were plenty of games to stimulate the developing brains along with an energetic dog to run around with. Over the years Heather and Pita have nurtured children who were behind in their education and encouraged them to enjoy things like books and reading.

Heather and Pita like to be involved in the community so any children they had with them were lucky as they were given opportunities to experience an array of activities and adventures that they otherwise may not have. Both Pita and Heather have calm nurturing and kind personalities that have allowed them to connect with the foster children coming into their home and they have enjoyed watching the children begin to blossom in their care. Some of the children they have fostered have had some difficult behaviours but Heather and Pita nurtured the child with firm boundaries, consequences and lots of fun and activities.

Heather and Pita said they both enjoyed having the children in their home, although they may not see the impact they have had, as the children have moved on. 

At Family Works we know that for the children their time with the Petelo’s has made a difference in their lives. Heather talked about seeing a boy they fostered, at school and he approached her. She could see he was trying to figure out who she was and she said they briefly spoke but what stood out to her the most was how polite and caring he was, which made Heather proud. 

Heather and Pita gave the children they fostered an insight into the possibilities they could have if they pursued their goals. They encouraged the children in learning in a fun and active way that brought out the ability they children did not know they possessed.

Heather and Pita have now retired as Foster Parents and we will miss having them as part of our Family Works team but they know that we will welcome them back to fostering in the future. 

If you would like to know more about becoming a Foster Parent please contact our Foster Care Coordinator Nicola Bode on 03 211 8226.