There are many misconceptions when it comes to foster carer eligibility and LGBT+ parenting.
Many people believe that certain factors like age, sexuality, gender, ethnicity, or religion might prevent them from becoming foster parents. 8 in 10 LGBTQIA+ people believe that they will face barriers or discrimination when applying to become foster carers.
At Compass, this is not the case; we actively welcome foster carers from all backgrounds. We believe in seeing everyone’s potential as a foster carer, regardless of their sexual orientations or gender identities. We know these things have no bearing on a person’s ability to be a brilliant foster carer.
Mark and Nick have been fostering with us for over 9 years. When they were first looking at becoming foster carers, they too were conscious of how their sexuality would impact their experience as foster carers.
You can read more about Mark and Nick’s fostering journey, in their own words, below.
Mark and Nick’s Fostering Story
Adoption was the first call for us when we started on this journey, but we decided after a lengthy waiting time to think about the benefits we could give to many different children and young people by fostering.
Initially, we feared 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 hearing a radio advertisement for Compass Fostering, we called them 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, and they arranged for a social worker from Compass Fostering to come and see us.
She spent a few hours talking to us in our home where we felt safe and comfortable. We talked 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. Paperwork was an understatement; this was a book we were writing!
This was just the start of our assessment process to become carers. The assessment process was very intrusive; we looked back on all aspects of our lives. 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 appreciated the need for this. When looking after another person’s child you need to ensure that they will be safe.
Finally, 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. We were delighted when we heard we were going to be recommended for approval.
It was not long before our first child was placed with us. We have had 4 fostering arrangements in total and 3 children are still with us now. 1 of them is in a ‘staying put’ arrangement and the other 2 are on ‘long term matches’, which effectively means they stay with us until they are at least 18.
We really enjoy our fostering life 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 and Nick have gone on to achieve incredible things as LGBTQIA+ foster carers with Compass, and we are so pleased to have them with us.
Alongside fostering three brilliant boys, Mark and Nick won FosterTalk’s New Carers of the Year award in 2014! The award sought to recognise the incredible things that Mark and Nick have been doing as foster carer ambassadors.
If you think you could provide a safe and caring environment for a vulnerable young person, please get in touch with us to find out more about foster care! Our welcoming team will be happy to take you through any questions you may have.