“We knew that being a same sex couple wouldn’t be an obstacle to fostering”
After a whirlwind start, Tina, Ashley and their two daughters are loving life as a foster family, and have all adjusted to their roles and a new family dynamic.
7 months into being foster carers, Tina and Ashley reflected on their experiences;
“We got our first insight into fostering when we met the foster carers of our adopted girls. We were inspired by what they do, and still have a good relationship with them now. We initially thought our girls maybe a bit young at 5 and 7 for us to become a foster family, but that thought changed, after a chance meeting with Phil from Liverpool fostering team, when he came along to our LGBT meet-up group. Phil shared his experiences with us and told us how his children were the same age as ours when they started fostering. It was clear to see how much he and his family loved doing it, and we started to think “we could actually do this!”
“From then on everything just clicked into place, the timing was right, and it all happened relatively quickly. We attended a 3 day pre-approval training course in the July, and were approved as foster carers in the October, and welcomed a 2 day old baby to our family in the December!
“The first few days were really overwhelming, and we felt like we were straight in at the deep end! The most challenging part was adapting as a family, but now the dynamic has changed for the better. Our girls are calm and caring and have loved helping. They have loved having a baby in the house and they have a good understanding of why we do it, because of their experiences in foster care before we adopted them. They see it as ‘normal’ and they understand that the baby won’t be with us forever, as he is waiting for his forever home, just as they did”.
“Because of our experience becoming adoptive parents, we knew that being a same sex couple wouldn’t be an obstacle to fostering.
We haven’t experienced any negativity about fostering as a same sex couple, and everyone has been really supportive.
“We have come across peoples preconceptions about what ‘looked after’ children are like. I think because they don’t have all the information, people tend to make assumptions about why children are in care and their situation.
We have a positive relationship with the baby’s parents and grandparents, and sent cards and gifts from the baby on Mothers and Father’s Day, as well as holiday photos and a diary of what we’ve been up to. They really appreciate it because they want the baby to have these experiences.
“One of the most common comments we get is about how hard it will be to say goodbye, when the baby moves on. It undoubtedly will be hard, but we have been prepared that it will happen from the beginning. The daily reports, training and admin side of the role, clarifies that it is a job and keeps us focused on why we are doing it”
“At the moment we are matched to 0–2 year olds because that works best with the ages of our girls, but as they grow older, then we’d imagine so would the age of the children we foster. At the moment, they love helping out looking after a baby!
Our advice to anyone thinking of fostering is to keep an open mind and don’t be put off by any hurdles. It’s so rewarding to give a child the best start in life and to see them without a care in the world!
We chose to foster with the council as we knew we wanted to look after local children. Tina gave up her full time job as a manager of a Nursery, to pursue fostering as a career and so the additional benefits, such as; free council tax and Lifestyles family membership have been a real benefit. Our supervising social worker has been fantastic and especially with this being our first baby, she has always been there to support and reassure us.