There’s plenty of laughs, lots of routine and even some little arguments — family life at the Larcombe house is no different to anywhere else.
The thing that sets this family apart from others is their titles.
Cate Larcombe is not a fan of titles.
She doesn’t like being known as a “foster carer” — she prefers “alternate parent”.
Cate met Miriam in 1992 when working for the Deaf-Blind Association.
She quickly formed a bond with the 10-year-old and, four years later, Miriam came to live with Cate and her husband Mountain on a part-time basis.
Not long after, Miriam moved in full-time with the couple as part of Yooralla’s Family Options program.
Miriam, now 31, was born with a severe-moderate intellectual disability and is Deaf-Blind, limiting her to communication through sign language.
For the Larcombes, they wouldn’t change the past 17 years for the world.
“Now she’s just part of our family,” Cate said.
“We see her personality before her disability — we’re both as stubborn as each other.”
When asked how her last 17 years has been, Miriam responded with an emphatic thumbs-up.
She also signed that she enjoys shopping, bike riding and swimming — one of the events she enjoys as part of the Special Olympics.
Cate and Mountain — who admits he has a great name — have no children of their own but say there are lots of benefits to becoming a Yooralla Family Options carer.
“In the beginning, everything is kind of centred on the new person in your life,” she said.
“But it’s about setting expectations and you learn from each other.”
“They’re always looking for new families (to become Yooralla carers) and it doesn’t matter what kind of family you have — everyone can help.”
Yooralla’s Family Options program provides full and part-time care for young people with disability through family-based placements.
There are different types of arrangements, from looking after someone just on weekends to supporting them until they are ready to be independent.
People who require placement come from a variety of backgrounds with different levels of disability: physical, intellectual, behavioural, sensory and emotional.
For more information on volunteer carer opportunities please contact email@example.com or phone 9831 5600.