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Ryan’s Story

In celebration of LGBT Fostering & Adoption Week, we asked Jay foster carer Ryan – ‘how did you get into fostering?’

Ryan has been a foster carer for Jay, with his partner Darren, for nearly a year.

What made you decide to become a foster carer?

‘I grew up in foster care so it had always been my intention to give back. I felt that I could provide a better standard of care than I received from my time in foster care. My experiences as a looked after child wasn’t good, as I was physically abused by my carers. I knew at the time that the abuse shouldn’t be happening and that I should feel safe with my foster carers, but I didn’t. I decided that I wanted to provide care to children the correct way, the way it should be done, the way I should have been cared for.’

How long did you think about fostering before you applied?

‘I thought about becoming a foster carer from the age of around 14. I got into a serious relationship at 18 and made it clear from the start that I wanted to be a foster carer. We applied when I was 23 years old.’

Did you have any reservations about fostering before you applied?
‘I didn’t have any reservations before I applied. I had been through the system myself and knew what to expect.’

What did you do before you fostered?
‘Before becoming a foster carer, I found it hard to hold down a job because I knew that ultimately, I wanted to be a foster carer. I had several jobs in retail and also spent around a year working in a residential care home in Solihull.’

What skills do you feel that you bring to the role of a foster carer?
‘The skills I feel I have come mainly from experience, experience I gained from growing up in the care system. Also, from my time working in a residential home. I feel I bring certainty to a young person’s life as well a stability and understanding – those skills are invaluable.’

What is the most enjoyable thing about fostering?
‘The most enjoyable thing is knowing that you have the chance to change a young person’s life for the better. Seeing that young person flourish and gain confidence is an enjoyable thing in itself – plus all the fun you have along the way is a bonus!’

What has been the most difficult part of fostering?
‘I find reading about the young person’s background, and the reasons that they have come in to care, the most difficult part of fostering, closely followed by saying good bye to them when they leave your care.’

What support do you receive from Jay?
‘Jay provide every kind of training required for you to gain knowledge to cope with nearly every situation. I try to get on to every training course possible as they are all informative. I’ve also met some fantastic foster carers who I speak to when need some advice or just a chat. The Jay community is brilliant and everyone bounces off everyone else, which is the making of a good agency and a successful family of carers.’

Would you recommend becoming a foster carer to anyone else?
‘I would recommend becoming a foster carer to anyone who can provide a safe, caring, family home. There are 1000’s of children in the UK who need that special person to care for them. But, I would recommend that before applying you think long and hard about it. Foster caring is life changing not only for the young person in your care but for you and your family as well.’

Thank you, Ryan (and Darren)! We feel very lucky to have you as our foster carers – Jay Fostering