“Fostering is one of the best things I’ve ever done.”
My partner and I have been together for seven years. I am a wedding planner, but when the first Covid lockdown hit and the hospitality industry shut down, I felt alone and like I needed to discover a new spark in life. That’s when my partner and I began to think about experiencing family life, and we looked at fostering children long-term.
We became foster carers three years ago now; we were ultimately looking for a child to stay with us long-term. We attended a fostering support group and that’s where we met a social worker who looking for a placement for a young lad. It was the perfect match. We first met our foster son when he was seven years old, now he’s 10, and we we’re actively looking to take on a second child. Being a family of four would make us complete.
As a same sex couple, we never felt any different to anyone else within the fostering world and have never been treated any different. From the outset we felt fully supported by Essex County Council, we were assigned a social worker and we buddied up with similar households where we all keep in touch. We’re part of a local ‘Oasis’ group of 10 carers who all share advice together as well as sleepovers for the children when we need a break or any on-call support. This means all the foster children know each other and are friends, so it is ultimately one extended big family. It’s like Essex County Council are waving a magic wand, they work so hard behind the scenes to offer training, support, guidance and networking opportunities so we can be the best foster carers possible.
There are so many benefits to supporting a child in care. I love seeing our foster son progress at school, meeting friends, building his confidence, playing sports, knowing that my partner and I are helping to shape his life as part of the team around him. It’s a joy to see a young lad grow and enjoy a normal as can be life with us but most of all smiling and glowing – he is the hero in all this, not us.
Fostering is one of the best things I’ve ever done. My outlook on life has changed so much, I’m a lot happier and I have a lot more flexibility in my day as I can work alongside fostering. We thought it would be the opposite, that our usual life would disappear, but fostering has opened my eyes and changed our lives for the better.
My advice for other people considering fostering is to do it if you want to make a difference to a young person’s life for the better. I feel that the team around our foster son simply sprinkle positivity over everything he does so he is able to live a happy and fulfilling life. The only downside is that our house isn’t big enough, we would love to take on even more children!