Shae-Lee's Story

I’ve stayed focused on getting my children back & being the best parent I can be

I met Melissa from Flourish Australia and that’s when my life turned around. I met two workers from Flourish Australia, who accepted me into their programme. Through their consistent communication, and sharing stories, I realised that there was hope for a better life for my children, and it made me realise if you want something badly enough, you can achieve it.

About six months later, it was suggested I do a course, so that I wasn’t home all the time. I was nervous, but talking with the Flourish team gives me confidence and I started to get into the swing of things. After the course, my doctor slowly took me off my meds, and I became medication free!

I’ve learnt I’m very strong minded – in a good way! You have to be strong to get through what I have been through. I’m worth a lot more than what I’d been told, and what I’d believed over many years. If I want to achieve something, I can do it, but I also know that I have supports to fall back on, and I’m not alone.

My children are what motivates me. With the support of Flourish Australia, Child Safety and the foster parent of my children, I’ve stayed focused on getting my children back and being the best parent I can be. It really helped that I could talk to Peer Workers at Flourish Australia, who were a similar age to me, express my thoughts and not be judged. I have full custody of my children now and I’m living again.

With my children back, I’m thriving - they’re happy and we can breathe again. Their foster carer was a big support to me, and still is. She taught me to take responsibility for my past, and to work with Child Safety who had the kids’ best interests at heart. I have now developed friends in the Child Safety industry, and admire them for the work that they do.

I can solve problems for myself now. At the same time, I have learnt that I need to have people around me to extend my happiness and help out when I need it. I have a driver’s licence, which gives me more independence. I’m managing my children, and I’m teaching them to be patient, kind and use their manners.

With the support of Flourish Australia, I completed a Certificate 3 in Hospitality and Barista course. This pushed me out of my comfort zone and I began interacting with people in a way that I had avoided for so long. I made new friends with people at the course and this gave me confidence to get out in my community more and get a job. Working has helped me to connect with people daily using the skills I developed through my recovery.

What I love most is that I’m doing everything that everyone else does now. I work, study, have a barbeque at the beach – I’m leading a normal life.

The game changer for me was that people listened to what I needed. They encouraged and supported me to push myself, rather than push me to do things that others wanted me to do. They were there when I needed them, and helped me stay focused on my goals.

Now I’m looking forward to pursuing a career in Child Safety and using my lived experience to help others in a similar position to me. I’m also thinking about the best pathways to build my career, as I want to be a role model for my children.

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