Patrick and Sebastian started their fostering journey with Capstone during lockdown and are loving fostering so far! Read their story here.
We have been approved foster carers with Capstone since July 2020 and we couldn’t be happier.
We have both always wanted children and discussed this when we first we first got together as a couple, and it was great that we were both on the same page about starting a family. We did look into adopting but we decided we would have a few more child free years first and enjoy time going away on holidays! Once we were ready to commit to starting our own family, we researched what would be the best option for us and decided fostering was the perfect opportunity.
We have many friends and some family members who foster so it was useful for us to talk to them and find out more about their fostering journey and how they have found it. The other key reason why we decided to foster instead of adopting was because we wanted to help as many children as possible and we knew we would have the extra support available from the fostering agency if we needed it.
When it came to researching whether we should foster through our local authority or an independent fostering agency, we chose to go with an independent fostering agency because after reading the Fostering in England report it was clear that we would get more support from an agency. After several days of researching different independent fostering agencies, we felt Capstone Foster Care was the best option for us and our family life. We decided to go with Capstone because everyone we spoke to was super friendly and the social media and website content was really engaging compared to others we had seen. There were a lot of positive reviews from current carers and it felt like a place we could belong, and it had a small family community feel to it.
Adam from the Capstone team visited us and he was amazing. He made us feel comfortable and never made us feel like we were asking too many questions and provided lots of details about the process and next steps. We did have our own insecurities that we may not be approved, or have children placed with us because we are a gay couple, but we have never felt any prejudice from Capstone which has been great. We would love to see more same sex couples apply to become foster carers and explore this option of starting a family instead of only considering adoption, fostering is just as rewarding if not more.
When we told our family and friends, we were going to start fostering they were very happy and supportive. A few of them had asked what the difference was between adoption and fostering so it has been a huge learning curve for our friends and family as some of them have learnt how fostering works and how we can help many children. There is a general lack of understanding around fostering for many people, so by having these conversations with others we hope more people can see the benefits of fostering and hopefully think about doing it themselves.
We were so happy when we got the call about our first placement, we had quite a few near misses, but we finally got one that was officially going to be our first placement! Unfortunately, the excitement of our first placement wore off quickly because it did prove to be quite challenging for us, but we did learn a lot from it. One thing that stood out for us from what could have been a negative experience was how supportive the Capstone team were during our difficult first placement. We used the out of hours line a lot and they helped with everything which we were so grateful for. Many people would have given up fostering after our first placement experience but because we knew we had that extra support behind us, we were confident to carry on with our fostering journey. We are so glad we continued because our second placement who is still currently with us has been amazing! The difference between the two placements is like day and night, this placement fits in really well with our family life.
Our current placement has been challenging at times but challenging in a way we expected it to be. We love having the family that we have always wanted, and we hope we get more placements because we have always wanted to have a house full of happy children. Sebastian has experience of being in foster care himself and although we love caring for the children, we would never keep them apart from their birth families if that wasn’t in their best interest.
Not all children who are placed into foster care have bad birth parents, sometimes they need that extra support in caring for their children and they know foster care can provide that for them. It is a misconception that all children in foster care are placed there because they are naughty children, this is definitely not true, and we know first-hand that all they are looking for is a loving home where they can feel safe and a part of the family.
It is hard to describe the best thing about fostering but if we had to sum it up, we would say hearing the children running around the house and listening to their laughter is the best thing. Even though there were only the two of us when we bought our house, we decided to buy a big one because we wanted the children to have plenty of space and also give us the option to care for many children. Our friends and family have said to us that we used to have a magazine ready house but now that we have children it doesn’t look like that anymore! You can definitely tell our house is full of children once you walk in but we wouldn’t change that for the world. The children love playing board games before bed, so we have converted the spare bedroom into a games room for them.
We would highly recommend fostering with Capstone to anyone thinking about fostering, they have always been supportive from the very start of our fostering journey and have been there for us ever since. Our application process took place during the national lockdown and we thought that might slow things down or affect us with placements but that hasn’t been the case at all. The training and courses available are great for us because we love learning about how we can improve or if there are other specific areas we could learn more about. The training at the moment is done online but we are looking forward to attending the face-to-face meetings once restrictions ease.
The best thing about Capstone is we never feel forgotten about, we have regular check-ins and monthly support sessions, and it is engaging all the way through. We hope more people decide to foster and get to experience the amazing things we have; it has provided us with a family we have always wanted, and we know we are making a real difference to children’s lives.