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Gay foster carers – the guys

Most people we know in their early twenties are more concerned with partying and getting laid than fostering children.

Daniel and Dale are different.

Aged 21 and 22 years old respectively, they’ve been together for three-and-a-half years, own their own house, have four dogs, and both boast a long and illustrious work history.

Still, due to their age and sexuality, they say that they encountered plenty of difficulties on the road to becoming approved as foster carers.

Same Same chatted to the guys about their efforts to become foster parents through The Benevolent Society.

How did you two meet?

Dale: We met on the internet, and very quickly arranged our first date after that. From there we were basically inseparable, and we’ve been together for three and a half years now.

What motivated you to want to care for a child?

Daniel: Having children was really just the next step in what we wanted to do. We said “we’re ready for it” and it just happened.

Dale: It was both something we wanted to do but Daniel would keep his ears out a bit more, reading the newspapers and answering requests for foster carers. He would make contact with the foster agencies, but found that the couple’s age and sexuality were something very quickly dismissed by foster agencies.

Daniel: They want a mother and a father, they want the mother to stay at home 24 hours a day and do the stereotypical mother duties. They must be between 25-40, the father must have this sort of stable job, work full time. Every agency we contacted was very restricted by their ideals, and a lot the agencies were religious based which is where these ideals were coming from.

Dale: As soon as Daniel would ask the question they were very quick to say “you have to be this and this” and it never seemed to be an option until we met the benevolent society. Because we had so many people saying no, no, no. A lot of agencies require you to be between 25 and 40 years of age.

Daniel: I’d try and ask them as many other questions first before admitting to being 21 and partner being male, and until those facts were brought to light. They were very quick to dismiss and discriminate. It got to a point where we were going to stop trying to foster and look at other avenues for having children, and it was kind of very coincidental that we bumped into the Benevolent Society.

How did you come across the Benevolent Society?

Were at fair day and they had a stand. They were very, very open with Daniel, and quick to say “sexuality is not an issue, come along to an info night and have a look at what we’re looking for in carers.”

Since then we’ve found that they are incredibly open. As long as you’re over 21 and living in a stable environment, it’s ok. Whether you’re gay or straight, whether you rent or own your own property, they don’t discriminate against it. If you’ve got the love to provide for a child then they’re willing to put you through the training.

What motivated you to foster instead of adopt?

Dale: Adoption is quite a long process. If we classify surrogacy and adoption together, it is a very legally bound process which can be quite overwhelming. It is great for the people that go through it. When we had so many rejections from foster agencies, we did look adoption as an option and started saving for it because that was the only conceivable way for us to care for a child.

We had friends who’d looked at having surrogacy overseas. Fostering was always the first option for us because there’s so many children that are in need. You see the ad in the newspaper “this child is in need of a parent”. It just seemed like the most logical thing to do.

Thankfully we passed the training and assessment process in May 2010, and now we’re waiting for “The Call”.

How are you feeling during the anticipation stage?

Daniel: Impatient is not the right word because you know that it takes time to match up the right child with the right family, so we’re just eager and waiting for that to happen. It’s definitely not something you can just rush.

Until you’re waiting for that phone call and that child, it’s not something that you just want to happen. It’s not like a pet store where you pick the first one that you see.

The Benevolent Society has made a profile about both of us and our interests and hobbies, lifestyle, etc, and they try and match us up with the right child. They look at other things like family support, whereabouts they live. If they’re from the other side of Sydney it might be hard for them to transfer into our life due to religious or cultural reasons.

Dale: If we are matched we have a meeting with the child, which could occur in an office or in a park. Generally somewhere relaxed. If that goes well then the child is sent over to our place for a night. After that, the child would stay with us for a weekend, and from there if all goes well and it is considered a suitable match, the child would come and stay with us permanently.

So it takes about a month or so period after getting “the call” to be matched with a child and have the foster relationship set in stone.

How have your families reacted to your desire to become foster carers?

Daniel: Both our families are very supportive. They’ve both known that we wanted to have children in the first place, and when we brought up foster care they were very open and supportive about it. They’ve known that we have always wanted to have children. It’s not like something we brought up last night. All our friends have been supportive as well. They’ve probably found that it’s more of a shock that someone’s letting us do it – a young, homosexual couple.

Dale: it was definitely more of a shock when we told friends/family that we were approved. They definitely didn’t want to get our hopes up. It’s not that they had doubted our ability as carers, but very much a shock saying that “Oh my god, it’s very real.” It’s not a case of “is it going to happen?” It’s a case of “wow, it’s happening. This is great!

So many of our friends are getting on board with the preparations. We have the bedroom and the play room done at home already.

Why are you doing this?

Daniel: We want to inspire other gay couples that want to do it that it is possible, and that they can make a difference to another child’s life.

Daniel and Dale have been approved as Long-Term Carers of a child 5-9 years of age. This means that the child they foster will stay permanently in their care until the child is 18 years old or able to live independently.

At the time of our interview, Daniel and Dale were still waiting to be matched with their first foster child.

More details about The Benevolent Society’s foster carer programme can be found here.

Read Same Same’s interview with another couple preparing to care for a foster child here.

Comments

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Travis de Jonk

Travis de Jonk said on the 27th Aug, 2010

Nice work Cam! I heart this.

Totka

Totka said on the 27th Aug, 2010

Wow! Cool, thanks Cam. My partner and I have just started this process as well with the same Society. Nice to read of other couples journey.

hazyinseptember

hazyinseptember said on the 27th Aug, 2010

Amazing.. There are so many children in need of good foster care. i urge anyone who has considered having a child to consider fostering instead.. there are so many damaged and vunerable children who need a great home!

JoshOnTheBus

JoshOnTheBus said on the 27th Aug, 2010

Daniel, Dale - you guys are awesome. I plan on doing exactly the same thing in a few years' time and have been inspired by your story. Same Same: please do regular follow ups with these boys! Really keen to follow their experiences. Best to you!

stortina

stortina said on the 29th Aug, 2010

fantastic work guys - an inspiration for us all xx