Our Fostering Team will be hosting their next online event on Thursday 4 March to talk you through the process of becoming a foster care, the different types of fostering available, and to provide an open forum for you to ask any questions you may have.
As the event falls during LGBT+ fostering and Adoption Week, they’d like to welcome anyone to attend, but especially people from LGBT+ backgrounds who have perhaps never thought about fostering before. Register here.
We really value our diverse fostering community, and this is just one of the things that makes Lambeth a really special place to foster. We positively welcome applications from our LGBT+ community.
Meet local hero, Thomas
To highlight what our LGBT+ community bring to fostering, we interviewed Thomas, a single male foster carer, who has been with for us for the past nine months. He’s a long-standing Lambeth resident and fosters with his cat!
Thomas tells us about himself and his experience of fostering so far: “I currently run my own business doing web design which works well for fostering as I can be flexible. I actually applied to be a foster carer for Lambeth ten years ago but decided to put this on pause as my working hours were too long.”
“I’ve been fostering for nine months now and I’m currently on my second placement. I’ve fostered a teenager who stayed with me for four months. And I’m now with a ten-year-old who arrived a week ago and it feels like he’s been with me for years already!”
We asked how he found helping a new child settle into his home and for any tips on this. “We just hit it off straight away. I’m quite lucky that he’s got a load of energy, just like me. We’ve spent a huge amount of time just going to the park together. We celebrated Chinese New Year recently and it was Pancake Day the other day. We’re also building a go-kart together during half term.
“When you’re settling children in, I recommend you find out what they’re interested in and do those things together as a team. And, of course, introduce them to new experiences when they’re ready.
With LGBT+ Fostering and Adoption week coming up, we asked whether he had any worries initially about being gay and becoming a foster carer. “Before I applied to Lambeth, I did wonder whether my sexual orientation mattered. I did some research on this and read Lambeth’s website which said they welcome everyone – and that the most important thing was your capacity to be a good carer. I decided to take Lambeth at their word and it turned out to be the right thing to do. I’ve never been treated any differently.”
On choosing Lambeth to foster with, Thomas explains, “My motivation to foster is very much about supporting people and giving back to my local community. I chose to foster for Lambeth as I live here, and I wanted to go direct to the council because they’re not-for-profit. It didn’t even occur to me to go to an agency for this reason.”
We asked Thomas what he thinks of the theme for LGBT+ Fostering and Adoption Week from his perspective. “This is really interesting when it comes to fostering. My prime motivation is to help the most vulnerable people and I felt that children are the obvious choice. Another aspect was also to build a type of a family. My experience of fostering has been that it fulfills this need.”
We asked Thomas what he would to someone else, including LGBT+ individuals, who are thinking about fostering? “Specifically, regarding the LBGT aspect. My first placement was a teenager who had some questions around his own sexuality. Being gay helped me provide support for him and have an insight into what he was going through, so it was a real advantage.
“Also, being in a minority group, your own experience of growing up and being different, people around you treating you differently, can really help you relate to children in care who may be feeling the same. So again, this first-hand experience can really be to your advantage.
“To everyone, regardless of who you are, I’d say do your research to make sure you’re comfortable with what fostering involves. It’s not always going to be like a Hollywood movie, where you support a kid and they become wonderful over night! Once you’ve looked into it and you know what you’re getting yourself into, then go for it would be my advice.”
Support for LGBT+ foster carers
Lambeth is a proud member of New Family Social, and so we’re delighted to be able to provide foster carers with free membership and access to all their services including holiday camps, outings and support. Find out more.
Get in touch
If you’re unable to attend the event but would like to find out more about becoming a foster carer, we’d still love to hear from you. Arrange a call-back here.