Simon & Jamie

from Leeds


It really does fill you with happiness

Same sex couple Jamie and Simon (both 29) from Leeds are foster carers with Fostering Solutions. They were approved to foster in 2014 and currently have a 15 year old boy in their care. Jamie and Simon were initially put off fostering as they feared it might be costly and they may be rejected for being a same sex couple – but found this wasn’t the case.

Simon said: “Jamie and I have wanted to be foster carers for a long time. I grew up in a disruptive home and was really brought up by my auntie and uncle from the age of 12, which had a strong bearing on our decision to foster. We both actively think about the challenges a difficult upbringing can lead to and wanted to try and make a difference to a young person’s life.

“We’ve spent two years doing up our home and creating a suitable family environment for a child or young person. At the start we were concerned about financial aspects – the costs involved, getting a mortgage and making sure everything we needed was in place as Jamie and I are still relatively young. However, this wasn’t an issue and in the end, financial worry didn’t prevent us from pursuing our fostering dream.

“Fostering a teenager is great. He initially came to us on respite for what we all thought was just going to be a month. We all got on really well and he expressed a desire to stay with us more longer term. This was the child’s decision and one we supported. He’s been with us ever since and sees this as a fresh start, having been in care since the age of five. We’ve treated him fairly and maturely, offering him guidance and encouragement and he’s responded very well to this approach.

“We’ve seen some really positive outcomes – he’s currently studying for his GCSEs and is at college one day a week doing mechanics. Jamie and I provide all the encouragement we can so that he applies himself to his studies and takes it seriously. We’ve put together a revision and work plan which seems to be working alongside some more typical teenage bribes! That’s all the motivation he needs, but we’re really proud of his achievements while he’s been here and hope it all pays off.

“We’ve had a lot of help and support from Fostering Solutions. The team made the experience of becoming a foster carer as positive as possible, so it was great to be finally approved and to get a placement straight away. Fostering Solutions is fantastic and listens and adapts on input from foster carers.

“Being a young, same sex couple does present its challenges – but not from the foster children. We just explain simply and honestly the situation and that’s that. For us this has always been about building a home for a child who needs it and that’s how the child in our care sees and understands it.

“Training has been a great help and hugely positive for us. We get a monthly visit from a child psychologist, an expert in his field which is hugely beneficial. The in-house training with social workers is great too and the discussion groups with other carers, who are far more experienced than us, has been very helpful to us in our first year. Hearing from the experience of others and sharing these has been invaluable. In fact I’d say this is the best form of training offered and I really enjoy and get a lot out of it. Jamie and I are now planning to create a support group with other same sex carers. We are looking to co-ordinate this with another couple in Manchester and are really looking forward to getting this up and running. It will be such a great resource for same sex couples and we have the full support of Fostering Solutions, which is great.

“I’d advise other couples or individuals looking to foster to not be put off by things you’re worried about as they probably aren’t an issue. If you are part of a same sex couple then this doesn’t even come into it as far as ability to foster is concerned. If you have a home to offer and love to give then this is all that matters. It really does fill you with happiness knowing that you have helped to shape someone’s life for the better and any challenges faced, regardless of your own circumstances, are far outweighed by the positives. Seeing a child develop and grow in confidence is very rewarding.”

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