There are many perceived barriers to fostering in the UK as a same-sex couple. At The CFT we go the extra mile to ensure tailored support is provided to the LGBT community who choose foster care as a way of starting a family.
Rob & Mark share their LGBT foster care experiences and how we supported them the entire way.
Rob & Mark’s Story
– What made you consider becoming a foster carer?
I’d thought about fostering in the past long before I met Mark in 2013. I was working around the country and abroad, I’d always speak with friend about how I’d like to foster as a way to start a family one day – But sometimes, you don’t always pursue what you say!
– How long was the decision-making process?
It wasn’t until September 2019 that I came home from work and told Mark I needed a change in career, working in retail was just not for me anymore and I needed a job that felt rewarding and fostering is what I wanted to do.
Mark wasn’t fully on board at this point, he had never thought about it.
I did lots of research, gathering information from Sheffield city council regarding the fostering agencies that covered our area.
We didn’t make a final decision until the registered manager contacted us again in March 2020 that we decided we’d taken enough time to consider the decision properly.
– What made you pick The CFT?
I spoke to many agencies – some didn’t cover our area, some didn’t place the aged children we had talked about, and some agencies just didn’t grab our attention and it’s important that it feels right from the very first call.
I found the CFT online, the website was easy to use with plenty of information and a number to call for anything we might need plus an information pack that could be sent out so we could read at our own leisure.
From the very first call, The CFT felt very welcoming. The lady we spoke to was really nice, we had a good chat and she sent us an information pack 1st class and told me somebody from my local office would call in a week’s time. It was all very prompt, and we had a good feeling about the CFT.
When we received the call from the local office it was the registered manager, we were a little nervous but not for long, she was very welcoming and easy to talk to, and we felt very much at ease
– Did you feel any nervousness, or anxiety throughout the process? How did you overcome those feelings?
We had such a positive home visit and with all the information we had consumed – It was still not something we carried out straight away.
We were unsure how fostering may actually impact us socially, financially and being a same-sex couple, would children actually want to live with us and if they did would they get bullied for living with 2 men? Would we add more upset to that child’s life because they now live with gay people?
When we were contacted again by The CFT in March 2020, to get the ball rolling we took an extra day to make the decision final. With all the fears and apprehensions, The CFT made it clear that those fears did not matter – they could see even though we are a same-sex couple, we would make great foster parents.
– Did you feel fully supported throughout the assessment process?
Our social worker was also in a same-sex relationship, this made us feel really comfortable. She’d adopted 3 children so was able to share her experiences being in a same-sex relationship as a family unit.
Once we completed our Form F in November 2020, we went to panel. This was very nerve-racking and due to lockdown, it had to be held over teams. Despite our anxiousness, it all went well and we left the meeting feeling very confident. Not once did we feel being a same-sex couple got in the way.
Later that day we got a call back with positive feedback and told we would make brilliant foster carers and make a loving family for any children to come into our care.
– With your first placement were there any particular difficulties? How was the transition?
We welcomed our first child in April 2021. I dropped my working hours to become the main carer and Mark stayed full time.
The child who come to us was only 5 at the time and never questioned why we shared a bedroom, or why he is now living with two men – He was just pleased to be in a welcoming and loving home. He’s since been placed in long-term care until he reaches 18 and is so proud of who he is and will tell his friends he will be here until he is 18. It feels incredible that even though we are a same-sex couple this doesn’t matter to a child, love is all that matters.
We’ve loved fostering that much Mark decided he wanted to give up work and we would get reapproved for another child so he could also leave full-time work and enjoy caring for the children. We now have welcomed a 12-year-old, this was an age we thought might have issues living with two men but just like our younger child he was just pleased to be with a family that care and love him.
Both of our children have developed so much confidence and we could not be prouder. Being a same-sex couple we were not going to have our own birth children so fostering children was a chance for us to have the joy of bringing up children and having our own family. We never forget the children have their own families, so we always welcome conversations about their birth families and help them maintain a healthy relationship with their birth parents.
We have developed good relationships with parents and they appreciate the care we are providing to their children and our sexuality has never been an issue.
LGBT Foster care
Diversity in foster care is vital for successful placements. Appropriate matching is a part of the foster care process that The CFT take incredibly seriously, and as part of The CFT and LGBT community, you can count on an ally that works tirelessly to ensure you have stickability in foster care!