Proving that giving birth is only one way to become a mother, foster carer Selina Rose Walker has been named the ACT Barnardos Mother of the Year 2017.
The 36-year-old from Wanniassa first fostered a child seven years ago and now also provides respite for other children in need.
Walker said she found it, "a bit surreal" to even be nominated.
"Even though I know I'm their parent, I don't consider myself to be their mother, because you don't forget your mum," she said.
Walker was nominated by her friend Maree Alchin, for not only her dedication to her children but her community work, coaching sporting teams and helping out at the school.
As the granddaughter of Agnes O'Shea, Canberra's most senior Ngunnawal elder, Walker also attends functions to deliver the Welcome to Country, and is setting up a program to help prevent Indigenous suicide after helping family and friends deal with two suicides within her family.
While Walker was "blown away" by the win, she said she doesn't see what she does as out of the ordinary.
"Whenever I tell my story to anybody, and I've had a few parents from the school that are really interested in it because it's so different, it actually saddens me that it's not done more often," she said.
"I feel lucky and privileged that I had a really good upbringing. I had two wonderful parents who taught me that it doesn't matter what you have so long as you have each other and there's love in the family, that's all you need. So that's what I teach the [kids] now."
Walker was chosen from almost 200 nominees in the ACT, and will now compete against the other state winners in Sydney in May for the title of national Barnardos Mother of the Year 2017.