Danny and Luke a couple who live in the South West were approved as foster parents in 2018 and since then they have gone on to foster eight young children in just two years.
Danny and Luke often reflect on the last two years and put the start of their fostering journey down to fate. Luke explains: “My sister previously worked in a school where she supported children in care. On the off chance, she suggested to us that we would be great at this. This instantly got us considering the large number of children in the care sector who are in need of some support and a loving home.
“As we already had a spare room and the capacity to look after a child, we then went online to learn more about how the process works and from there, we decided to enquire and start the process with FCA.”
Being a young, same-sex couple, Luke explains that it was very important for the pair to have a strong support network around them whilst considering fostering, he explains; “We are extremely lucky to have our friends and family as they have all been extremely accepting of our decisions. It was important, not only for the whole process, but if we were successful, we knew we would need the support of our loved ones.
“Most people were positive and flooded us with compliments saying how great we would be. Our parents were supportive and helped us in making sure it was the right decision which was important to us at the time, as it gave us the opportunity to really consider the difficulties that we could experience during this new journey.”
Talking about the decision to foster with FCA, Luke and Danny commented: “During our lengthy research into the process we realised how popular and well recognised FCA were. The main reason we chose to go with FCA was the level of support they offer for both the foster parents and children. This was a concern for us, especially not being parents ourselves, so we wanted that option to have the additional support, if we needed it.
They were extremely welcoming during our initial phone conversations and then the team came to meet us at home. The regional manager came along, which isn’t the usual process, but it was great to see that she was supporting her team with appointments.
“We discussed the different types of fostering and how that would fit into our lifestyle and she was extremely honest about the fostering process and its challenges - which we really respected and appreciated.”
During their journey so far, Danny and Luke have fostered eight young children, mainly on respite or emergency placements and have recently signed up to support two more young children once they leave care.
Danny explains; “Due to us both having busy careers, our fostering needed to fit accordingly within our lives. We have seen many of the same children for repeat respite placements, which has been a great opportunity for us to watch them grow and support their development in every way we possibly can.
“Many people who don’t foster often say to us “I couldn’t do it, I wouldn’t want to give up the children”, which is hard, as we never want to just ‘give them up’, but we are happy in the knowledge that respite care is important in supporting other full-time placements, and that we are doing our very best to support that young person for the time they are staying with us.
“In our home, we enjoy playing board games and card games together, seeing the children relax, have fun and enjoy spending time with us. One notable day out we had was when FCA paid for us and two brothers to go to the ‘World of Country Life’, where not only did we have a great day out feeding lots of animals and playing in the play areas, but we also had the opportunity to meet other like-minded foster parents.”
However, being a foster parent does come with its challenges, as Luke and Danny reveal: “Each child is completely different, bringing their own challenges. But, as cliché as it sounds, the biggest challenge for us was probably ourselves; we were very nervous initially about what we were doing, perhaps it was ‘fear of the unknown’, but FCA quickly put our mind at ease and have supported us whole heartedly throughout our entire journey.
The couple added: “There is always a supervising social worker on call 24/7 whenever you need them. In the South West office, everyone is super friendly, no matter who you speak with, they all want to support you. We were never dismissed because of our age or lack of experience; the team were confident in our ability to look after vulnerable children. We chose FCA due to the support we were looking for and two years later, it’s the best decision we’ve made!”
Luke and Danny’s best advice to those who are considering fostering is to research, consider your lifestyle, and then go for it. “Reach out to someone who you may know who is fostering and try to hear first-hand their experiences. We understand this is not always feasible, but the team at FCA are always happy to help and will help find somebody you could talk to, and you could always contact us, we’d be happy to talk and help out!
“Whether you have tons of experience or none at all, FCA are there to help you every step of the way. There will always be frustrations within fostering - raising children is a really challenging job, but the fact you are willing to support these young people is a wonderful thing, remember to give yourself credit!”
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