Damian and Rob
“It took years to pick up the courage to apply to foster, I was just too afraid of what society would think”
Damian and Rob have recently been approved as foster carers with Fostering People. As a gay couple they have shared their thoughts with us as to why they wanted to foster and their experience of going through the assessment process.
Damian explained “I was brought up in the old school sense that you grow up, meet a girl and settle down, as such I didn’t come out until I was older. I have two adult children from my previous relationship, and since being with Rob, he has been part of my children’s lives, and especially my sons’ who lived with us. I felt that Rob and I had much to offer and I’d often thought about fostering, but it was my fear of what people would think of a gay couple looking after someone else’s child that stopped me from doing anything about it for several years.
One evening, I noticed a piece on Facebook about a gay couple fostering, which got me thinking, if they can do it, why can’t we”.
I started to do some research, and I called a couple of agencies about fostering. I didn’t tell Rob what I was doing at first, I wanted to ensure that we wouldn’t be turned down due to our sexuality first, as I wanted to spare Rob’s feelings if this happened. When I talked to Jen, from Fostering People, she spent over an hour talking to me over the phone, just having a chat about fostering. She made me feel really comfortable and then made an appointment to come out and see us.
This was the start of our assessment process to become carers. The process is very intrusive as we looked back on all aspects of our lives, however when we were given our assessment report to read, both Rob and I were in tears. It was such an emotional journey, and our assessor had captured us exceptionally well. Despite the process being in-depth, we fully appreciate the need for this. When looking after another person’s child you need to ensure that they will be safe. We went to panel a month ago and were accepted as foster carer. It was a scary experience. I run my own company, and I’m use to feeling in control, but this is one of those occasions where you can’t control what people are thinking. But we were delighted when we heard we were going to be recommended for approval.
Since being approved, we have been making arrangements to welcome a child into our home. We have two spare bedrooms, which we have decorated and Rob has gone to town on new furniture! We have undertaken an induction programme with the agency so we’re more familiar with our role as carers and understand the ‘work’ element more, alongside the caring role, but most importantly we have been having conversations with the placements team about children who are in need of a placement.
It takes a little time to get a first placement, as matching is essential. A few days ago, we were expecting a young lad to join us on an emergency placement, but just before he was due to arrive, he ran away, not wanting to be in foster care. All we were concerned about was his safety and once we found out from the social worker that he was safe we were happy. It’s all part of the rollercoaster of fostering. We are really looking forward to starting our fostering lives, and having seen the reports of children we could potentially be matched with, we’d urge other gay and lesbian couples to come forward and foster too. Like me I suspect many couple’s don’t come forward because they are worried about what society will think. We know that there are many couples out there who could offer wonderful homes for children who need to be safe, nurtured and loved.