It wasn't until Petty's father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease that she finally decided to honour that lifelong wish.
Petty contacted MacKillop Family Services foster agency in Melbourne, and was approved.
'I was terrified of the moment I’d have someone else’s child at my door. But I’d do what I’ve done in all other aspects of my life. I’d smile and wing it,' she shares.
'I’d wing it, knowing my heart was in the right place. I was safe. I broke it all down into bite size pieces. I would do my best, and I’d try to create some lovely memories. I’d do my best to show them some light in the world.'
Petty recalls the life-changing moment her foster child walked into her home.
'I opened the door to find a seven-year girl with messy curly hair, standing flanked by Child Services (DHS) staff,' Petty reflects to the Daily Telegraph.
'She had a grubby white singlet on, black shorts and sneakers with no socks.
'She was staring down at her little feet. The image of her now brings tears to my eyes because I know now what she’d just been rescued from.
'She’d come from a frightening world and now she was standing at the door of a stranger.
'My little friend has been living with me for almost six months now and has a personality the size of the MCG.
'She is outgoing, happy, hysterically funny and sensitive. I get to see this because she feels safe. I get to see the real her. And she is amazing. It has not been ‘a sacrifice’ as many suggest it might be. It’s been a gift that goes both ways.'
Petty adds that the journey has been 'challenging and magical,' but concludes that 'for anyone who has ever wondered about fostering, I hope my story gives you a loving little shove to contact an agency near you and look into it. The need is great but the rewards are even greater.'