“We had thought long and hard about going into fostering. We hadn’t spoken to anyone about it – family, friends or professionals. We had to be sure ourselves before we discussed it with the outside world. Then we heard about an open evening specifically for gay & lesbian people being run by Leeds City Council fostering team. We could now go and find the facts and get advice from people who knew what they were talking about.
“After our initial reaction of it being great that there was a specific open evening, we then became apprehensive. Whilst we were talking about, that’s all it was – talk. This actually meant doing something.
“We received a warm and friendly welcome from the recruitment team. We had drinks and biscuits whilst we were waiting for the evening to officially begin and this gave us a chance to meet other potential carers and the staff. Once it began we had a brief presentation of the facts and figures on both fostering and adoption. One of the facts that stood out to me was that at that time, around 1400 children a year are in need of foster care within Leeds, the fourth largest requirement in England.
“After the presentation we split into two groups depending on your preference between fostering and adoption. We went into further detail on the process and got the chance to meet a gay foster carer. This was a great opportunity for us to ask the burning questions that only a person who had been in our situation could answer. It’s ok for the professionals to answer the questions we had asked, but it felt more genuine hearing the answers from a current gay carer. We got the reality and not just the theory.
“Our concerns and limitations were unfounded. We weren’t limited to caring for a girl as we thought we might be because we were a gay couple. A safe care plan would be put in place to protect both the child and ourselves; exactly the same as with any heterosexual couple.
“Basically the overwhelming message was “anyone can be considered to be a foster carer” being gay was not an issue and certainly not a limitation.
“Once the discussions ended we were asked if we wanted any more information or wished to leave our details to be contacted about application. We left our details, as we had been very impressed by the evening and of the honest and realistic approach given. We came away even more determined to become foster carers than when we arrived. Later that week we were contacted by the recruitment team manager. Before I knew it, I had agreed to a home visit and further discussion – what were we letting ourselves in for?”
Tonight is our LGBT adoption and fostering information evening – come along to find out more about adopting and fostering with Leeds City Council, 7-9 pm at The Village Hotel, Headingley