My wife (Sandra) and I (Debby) had been thinking of fostering for quite a few years and to be honest didn’t think we had a chance of fostering due to the fact we were a same sex couple. We have four children all grown with only the youngest (Becky, 19) living at home and I felt I was not ready to stop being a mam and we felt strongly that we could offer a looked after child a warm, fun, loving, nurturing home, normality. We were passed by panel September 3rd 2014. It was by far the best decision we have ever made.
Sandra works full time and I am the main carer. We are a close family unit, with a good extended support system, which I feel is important.
We had a call two weeks after passing panel advising a 15 year old young man needing an emergency placement which turned into 16 months. Looking back it was quite scary how fast this 16 months went by and how much our lives and views have changed and most of all how much we have all evolved. Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t a bed of roses all the time there were some challenging times, this is where your support network comes in. Included in this is my fostering agency Fostering Solutions, Fay my supervising social worker (SSW) and her manager Cheryl has in my opinion gone over and beyond with support for us when needed. An example of this was when Fay dropped everything and came to support me when a challenging situation arose.
As part of the LGBT community we have never felt any negativity in our fostering roles towards us and it has certainly never held us back in regards to opportunities. In training sessions it is noticeable how wonderfully diverse we all are as a group.
You try your very best for the kids and put boundaries and normality in their lives, the kids teach you an awful lot too. I certainly don’t see fostering as a job it is simply my life and I love it. Good, bad or ugly I wouldn’t change a moment. Fostering Solutions has put me on a lot of training which has been invaluable. I love doing the training as I get so much out of it and also it is a chance to catch up with other foster carers and have a good chat and to be fair support each other.
Our first looked after child has moved on to semi independence now and five weeks ago a 13 year old girl was matched with us. Matched with us is a good word as I feel it is a perfect fit for both her and us. Things are going great.
If I could give advice to myself before we started fostering it would be: every morning is a fresh new day, you are stronger and can handle more than you think, never be afraid to ask for help or support (you won’t be judged), not to put too much pressure on yourself and be open minded and flexible.
I am thankful for every moment and as a family we are accepted as foster carers.
With thanks to Fostering Solutions