Pride Month: LGBT Foster Carers

June 1st is the start of Pride Month and Barnardo’s is keen to hear from any LGBT couples interested in being foster carers to vulnerable children.   We think this is such an important topic and when we read Stephen and Wayne’s story we knew we had to share it with our readers.

Stephen and Wayne White describe fostering through Barnardo’s as “the best thing we’ve ever done”.

Stephen, a 34-year-old manager, and Wayne, a 30-year-old part-time care-worker, live in Coleshill in Warwickshire.

They were approved for fostering in December and it was just a few weeks later that they were introduced to a young boy, Thomas (not his real name), now aged eleven.

Stephen said: “We both come from large families where several of our own relatives had been fostered or adopted and we always considered them to be genuine members of our family - they were simply our aunts, uncles or cousins.

“So, when the time was right, we started to do a lot of research into fostering and the different charities and agencies involved.
“We settled on Barnardo’s because it was so established and well-known, and they clearly put a great deal of effort into matching the right family with the right child.

“The preparation and training was very thorough, and some of the questions seemed intrusive but that was totally understandable as they needed to know everything about us. 

“They weren’t just testing us – they were ensuring we’d be matched with the right child.”

They were approved by a panel in December and then a few weeks later their Barnardo’s social worker told them about Thomas, who needed a long-term foster placement.

Stephen and Wayne visited him at his temporary foster home, joining him for meals so that they could slowly get to know each other. He showed them the books in his room, and they left an album of photos showing their house, their friends and family, and even their cat, which he could browse through at his own pace.

Thomas has only been with the couple for a few months but there have already been several positive changes.

Stephen said: “We’ve had lots of very positive feedback from people who’ve known him longer than us – they say he’s speaking a lot more, and he’s smiling a lot more. He’s also doing really well at school.

“His own personality is starting to shine. I like singing, and he does too, so we often enjoy singing along in the car together.

“It’s nice to do things he’s never done before so we’ve taken him on a holiday abroad for the first time, which was also his first time on an aeroplane and he’s opened our own lives to more experiences – he’s into football so we recently went to our first match together!”

Stephen concluded: “Fostering has changed our life completely but we’ve never doubted that it was the right decision.

“There are tens of thousands of children out there with nobody to love them, nobody to cuddle them and care for them, so why not make the biggest change you can make to someone’s life – providing them with a loving and stable home.

“It’s the best thing we’ve ever done.”

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