Our fostering journey as a gay couple.
Our journey into fostering started after two successful adoptions and the understanding of how important fostering a looked after child is. Our children were extremely lucky to have had amazing foster families, who provided a loving and stable environment and also prepared them for their forever families.
We both felt it would be a way to give back the same love and stability that it has given to our children. Having two adopted children and going through some of the issues related to looked-after-children, it has given us a lot of tools and experience we thought could be beneficial to foster.
Our main concern was how bringing new children into our family unit would affect our children. We had plenty of discussions between us, our social worker and of course with the children and we realised that it would actually help them understand what happened to them. They also found the idea of helping other looked-after-children very exciting.
Also as two gay men we were concerned about how we would be perceived, if we would encounter any possible negative reactions from the agency or social services or any discrimination against homosexual families for placements. After successfully going through the fostering process, we can safely say that we did not suffer any type of discrimination, or negative reactions. On the contrary, everybody has been nothing but welcoming and supportive.
After seeing a couple of ads on Facebook for local foster carers who could speak more than one language, we approached Greater London Fostering - they were also local - and asked them for more information. Soon after we received the first home visit, and a former foster carer gave us more detailed information. Within less than 8 months we were approved as foster carers.
Our advice to any other person and especially to any other member of the LGBT community is to go for it!!! If you have a stable life, space in your house, regardless of whether you own it or not. If you have a lot of love for children and dedication you could be a fantastic foster parent. Your sexuality is not a hurdle, in fact it could be an advantage because fostering is not only about primary age children. There are a lot of teenagers rejected by their families because of their sexuality who could benefit enormously from living with another member of the LGBT community. These teenagers not only need stable and caring environments but also good role models.
Rafael and Fabrizio are Foster Carers with Greater London Fostering.
If you would like to find out more about becoming a carer then click here http://www.greaterlondonfostering.org/lgbtfostering/