Have you ever considered fostering? With the help of Orchard Fostering, we were able to hear from two same-sex couples about their experiences of fostering, both how frustrating and how extremely rewarding it can be.
“You will want to throw the towel in at times, but you have to remember why you signed up”
Gavin and I had discussed our interest in fostering over a year or so. We initially got in touch with Tusla directly in January 2017 but did not feel the time was right. It was in December 2017 we heard of Orchard and went ahead with an initial meeting to discuss our interests and what the assessment process would involve with Team Leader Niamh. We were both very nervous as it was completely new to us but were made feel so relaxed.
During the assessment, whilst it can be difficult at certain stages, the assessment worker helped us through the process so well. There was never a time we were afraid or worried about asking a question. Overall our experience of the assessment process was positive.
One of the tough stages for us was waiting on committee. We were waiting nearly 2 months until our committee day. After experiencing this day all we can say is don’t let it take over your mind like us. It isn’t as daunting as you may think.
Not long being approved we were called about some children for respite. The children were of different ages, ranging from 7 to 14. Although challenging and each child came from different backgrounds it was an opportunity to get a feel of what it might feel like to foster a child short to long term and it also gave us a chance to experience different behaviours and challenge ourselves.
We have had a teenager now on a long term basis since January 2019. It has come with many different experiences and challenging behaviour. Whether that be with the child or parents. It can become draining and frustrating at times. But all that can be turned around when you see first-hand what you can do for a child coming from a difficult home, to see a child smile because they are being shown love that they may not have received at home.
Being a married gay couple we did worry what children coming into our care might think, how they would adapt or what they might say and so on. But we have been lucky that this has never been an issue and it should never be.
We won’t lie it is going to be difficult, you will want to throw the towel in at times, but you have to remember why you signed up, to make a difference to a young person’s life who may never get a chance if we foster carers were not here. Every day is a new day. Always make time for yourselves too everyday.
Overall to date our experience with Orchard has been tremendous. They are a great team who are there first hand if you need them. We have never been afraid to ask a question no matter how small it was or if we need reassurance. We have never regretted becoming carers no matter what the situation might be. We love what we are doing and will continue on as long as we are needed.
“We weren’t sure at the start if we could get approved as we were a same sex couple”
Myself and my then partner and now wife started the fostering process in April 2017.
We have always enjoyed the company of children and were Cub Scout leaders for years.
Fostering was something we both really wanted to do. We just wanted to help. We knew there was massive demand for foster carers, although it is not an easy job , it has to be one of the most rewarding!
We weren’t sure at the start if we could get approved as we were a same sex couple, but we filled out an online enquiry form for a fostering agency called Orchard. They rang us back promptly, asked a few questions and set up an initial appointment to meet us in person.
We became approved foster carers in January 2018. We have had three placements, with our current one heading into it’s 16th month. We are very proud foster parents to two beautiful girls. As far as they are concerned they have 3 Mammies and feel lucky as most only have 1. Having the girls has given us a new lease of life and opened us up to experiences we never thought possible.
We are treated in the community the exact same as any other family. Orchard fostering agency have embraced us as a couple and the assistance and support that they have given us on this journey has been second to none.
We got married in June this year and the girls were a massive part of the day. They did a dance routine as a surprise for us and nearly had every guest in tears.
The girls understand that it’s acceptable to be gay and for people to be in love with whomever they choose. I think the day they told us we were gross and embarrassing for dancing together followed by a fit of giggles we knew we had made it as parents.
We really are one big happy family.
Find out more about different parenting options on our Parenting Information Page