We felt that we had much to offer and thought about adopting at the start, after a lengthy wait via the local council’s adoption process, which was a blessing for us, we decided that fostering would be a much better option and would allow us to help many youngsters within the care system.
Initially it was a fear of what people would think of a gay couple looking after someone else’s child, but we are strong couple and knew we could address any challenges sent to “test” us and thought to ourselves “if others can do it, why can’t we?”.
We did some research and after a radio advertisement for Compass Fostering we called the agencies about fostering. I wanted to ensure that we wouldn’t be turned down due to our sexuality, what would we do if this happened, how would we feel?
We first talked to Compass over the phone, then the manager from Compass Fostering arranged to come and see us. She spent a few hours talking to us in our home where we felt safe and comfortable, just having a chat about us, our lives and everything that was in it, as well as asking why we had chosen to look into fostering. She made us feel really at ease and it was only afterwards that she said she was leaving paperwork for us to complete, paper work was an understatement, this was a book we were writing!
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 Nick and I were quite emotional. 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 and were accepted as foster carers. It was a scary experience, when the panel leader came out to tell us we had passed Nick cried. 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 it was not long before our first placement was placed with us, we have had 4 placements in total and 3 are with us now, 1 staying put and 2 on long term match which effectively means they stay with us until they are at least 18.
As part of the assessment and approval to be authorised as a foster carer you have to undertake an induction programme with the agency, this enabled us to be more familiar with our role as carers and understand the ‘work’ element more, alongside the caring role.
Matching placements is essential, not just for the child’s needs but for the home overall, it’s all part of the rollercoaster of fostering. We really enjoy our fostering lives, and having seen the children grow from strength to strength and achieve awards for everything they put their minds to is reward enough for us. We’d urge other gay and lesbian couples to come forward and foster too. Like us, we suspect many couples 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.
You don’t just open your home when fostering, you open your heart, your mind and a whole new way of life for all involved.
Mark & Nick Dennison Moorhouse,
Compass Fostering carers