the story of

Fostering together by becoming a foster carer with my partner

LGBTQ+ Fostering

Kate has been a foster carer for 13 years and Imogen has been a foster carer for five years.

We are long term carers and have had our current addition for seven years this year. We have tried respite and were open to short term originally, but once we got to know the children we enjoyed building the relationship and getting to know them. Our first placement is 22 now and still a big part of our family, the youngest is a teenager now and we’ve watched him grow up, change and become an amazing person.

Imogen joined our “crazy” household once we realised we were in our relationship for the long haul and becoming a foster carer and a support for us all was a big part of that for her.

Positive assessment process

The assessment process for us was very positive. The trainer was enlightening and really brought the truth of our children’s early years to life. I can still remember her acting out a crying baby and the different responses it would get and how each one would affect brain development and attachment, it stayed with me even 13 years later. When Imogen trained we had the same trainer again and she brought something else to life for her. That part of it was very positive for us.

What we found difficult

The paperwork stage was long and thorough, understandably as the children coming to us are already vulnerable. We had no issue with this but I did struggle to be patient waiting to be approved.

The difficulties of being a foster carer are you don’t go home at the end of the day and escape your work commitments. Your house is your workplace and after a day of looking after children that can have complex issues it can feel like you don’t get to switch off or escape. Much like parenting there are no sick days or holidays, though other forms of break are available, it’s not as easy as phoning in sick and getting a few hours to yourself. There is a lot of training and a lot of paperwork to keep yourself and the children safe and after a long day it can feel like the last thing you want to do.

There is a lot of training available, online, in person and at home via reading and even watching television programmes. You have to be open to learning and embrace changes in the world, laws and the generational differences that happen over time.

I was 25 when I started fostering and in the last 13 years I have seen the way children approach things directly influence the training we can access, especially when it comes to sexual identity, trans[gender] issues and even the war in Ukraine. The training and the needs of our community has to adapt quickly.

There is a wide variety of training available.  Its not always easy to access if you have another career outside of fostering but there is something on every week.

I think it’s not so much that fostering fits in around your family as your family grows around fostering. You find extra capacity, extra energy, learn new things, pick up new habits, adapt and change. Your family expands with new additions of children and their families, their social workers and teachers etc, but equally it can shrink when people take a step back. It’s definitely not for everyone and can be very polarising. We include our children in everything we do as we would with our own child, it’s a family journey.

I would say to anyone wanting to be a foster carer, don’t go into it for the money, don’t go into it thinking it’s an easy task. Our children don’t need someone who wants praise for being a good person, or someone being told how lucky our children are to have us. You need to be confident you can advocate for your child’s needs whilst balancing your own and your families, need to be able to ask for help and not be ashamed of needing it. You need a lot of cupboard space for snacks, a good sense of humour and be just a little bit “crazy”, i think that always helps.

Get in touch with the team today contact us

Could you join Kate and Imogen and more than 35 LGBTQ+ households who are already foster carers with Foster Wales? Find more stories

We’re Foster Wales Neath Port Talbot, part of the national network of 22 Welsh Local Authority fostering services. Our aim is to build better futures for children within our community. 

If you live in Wales, visit the Foster Wales website where you can find all the information and contact your local authority service.

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