Ben and Dean

Sydney-siders, Ben and Dean have been fostering for almost six months now to seven-year-old, Jared*.

Becoming foster carers was something that Ben and Dean knew was a good fit for their partnership.

“As a same sex couple, we considered many options but decided that fostering was the best fit because it allowed us to potentially reach and support many children over time.”

“We also saw it as an opportunity to give back to the community and enhance the quality of our own life as partners and foster fathers at the same time,” Ben says.

As new carers, Ben and Dean found that their fostering journey was made easier through the support of their fostering agency, Key Assets.

“Key Assets have given us an exemplar experience of being supported by an agency. We have developed a meaningful and trusting working relationship across their staff, especially with our case worker.”

“Fostering is such a team effort and you get to develop deep connections with the team supporting you and the child because you all share the same goal,” Dean says.

When asked about their fostering experience, the couple said they have experienced many unexpected rewards and challenges.

“Before our first placement, we felt we had a bedroom that needed to be filled by a little person, but we did not expect to have that little person fill every corner of the home with conversations, smiles, Lego, stories, tears, bed time fears and morning hugs.”

“Some of the challenges have come from having to gauge reactions and emotions as individuals and as a couple to stop tricky behaviour. There have never been so many rules, boundaries and expectations set in such a short space of time,” Dean says.

Supporting Ben and Dean’s fostering journey is Key Assets social worker, Emily Brown, who says that their commitment, support, creativity, and perspective have had a momentous impact on Jared’s life.

“Ben and Dean are always open to new suggestions and strategies, ensuring these decisions are made as a team. All decisions are being made with Jared at the centre of their world.”

“With positive praise and love offered by Ben and Dean, Jared is beginning to trust adults again, recognising his behaviour and even self-reflecting and vocalizing his acknowledgement of his behaviours.”

“Ben and Dean are a great example of what we look for in foster carers. We really need people who are patient and understanding who have a lot of time and love to offer.”

When asked to offer any advice to people interested in foster care, Ben and Dean stress for people to connect with a supportive agency and build a strong support network.

“Talk to the people in your life and start to build a network of trusted friends and family who want to be a part of the journey with you. Speak to an agency about what caring involves and just start the process,” Dean says.

Ben and Dean tells us that fostering has redefined their life purpose and has strengthened their partnership.

“You discover new ways to adore and respect your partner, as you come to admire them for the skills and talents they have in child care. Life purpose gets redefined inside the workings of a family. It’s a great feeling,” Ben says.

Foster carers are urgently needed in Sydney. If you are interested in becoming a foster carer and would like more information, contact Key Assets on 1800 WE CARE or visit www.iwanttofoster.com.au