Foster parents welcome three boys into their home and hearts

The joy of providing a loving family in Croatia

By Marina Knežević Barišić
Aneta and Jan holding two of the boys they fostered.
UNICEF/Marina Knežević Barišić

Aneta and Jan wanted to become parents. They got in touch with a social welfare centre in Croatia, went through training to become a foster parent four years ago, and then welcomed three boys into their home and their hearts.

All three of them were under two years of age.

"When we first saw them, that was it - love from first sight" says mother Aneta.

There is a lot of work involved, but Aneta and Jan are adamant about the overwhelming happiness the boys brought to their lives:

"They are healthy, they are happy and so are we,"

says Aneta.

Remembering their visits to the children's home, Jan tears up: “Children would come and tell us: ‘If you’re taking three, will you take me as well, I will be the fourth. I’ll be good, I’ll help. Why them, why not us?’ That left a big mark on us."

“Those children didn’t deserve to grow up in a children’s home. They are standing in the doorway, waiting for parents,”

adds Jan.

Having the opportunity to transform a child's life by giving them love, care and understanding is a big responsibility, but for Aneta and Jan, the rewards seem hard to put into words.

UNICEF works on child protection to promote the right of every child to grow up in a nurturing family environment. Where possible we encourage families to stay together but in cases where children must be taken into care, placing a child with a foster family enables them to receive the nurture, love and care they need to thrive.