Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
12:33 PM 14th June 2022

Geoff And Stephen Urge Other Same Sex Couples To Foster

Geoff and Stephen
Geoff and Stephen
Geoff Wilson, 59, and his partner Stephen from the South Lakes, are urging others from the LGBTQI+ community to sign up to become foster carers during Gay Pride Month.

"Many people are misinformed about who can foster," explained Geoff.

"The fostering family is very inclusive and welcomes foster carers from the LGBTQI+ community. Fostering has changed our lives and the lives of our foster children forever. You too can help build incredible futures for a vulnerable child by providing a supportive, loving home."

Geoff and Stephen’s fostering journey began 7 years ago, when they welcomed Aidan into their home and their hearts.
You too can help build incredible futures for a vulnerable child by providing a supportive, loving home."

"We’ve just celebrated Aidan’s 16th birthday with a trip away up to Scotland. It was a real family affair, and a chance for Aidan to have a bit of down time in the middle of his GCSEs, he’s working so hard, he deserved a break – but he’s back to his revision with his head in his books again now.

"When Aidan first came to us he really struggled in school – now he’s predicted all As in his exams. He’s already mapped out what subjects he wants to study at A level, and which university he would like to attend. It’s incredible, all he needed was the love and security to enable him to fulfil his potential.

"Aidan isn’t just doing extremely well academically, he’s an allrounder. He’s got such commitment and drive. Judo is his passion and he has proudly represented England in championships. Practice is five times a week and he’s now coaching the younger ones as well.

"In the summer, he’ll also be taking part in a mountaineering expedition with the British Exploring Society, a youth development charity dedicated to providing challenging learning experiences through adventures in wilderness regions. The first stage is in Scotland, with the possibility of further expeditions in Canada and Africa. He's such a little star, and he knows we’ll support him all the way – he’s part of our lives forever.

Geoff and Stephen’s story doesn’t end there. Seven months ago, they welcomed a second foster child, ten year-old Peter*, into their lives.

"It’s early days yet, but Peter is settling in well. He’s very resilient, we feel really positive as he wants to be part of the family and he loves the dogs.

"At first, accepting another child in the house was quite tough for Aidan. The breakthrough came during a weekend away, there was a swimming pool and the boys started messing about, having water fights and diving competitions. They’ve really started building a sibling relationship now – including the bickering.

"Aidan is an excellent role model. Peter’s seen how much Aidan wants to succeed and the time and effort he’s put into his revision, and decided to join him and revise for his SATs. They’ll be in the same school next year, although Aidan jokes that as he’ll be in sixth form, he can’t speak to a first year.

"Peter followed Aidan into Judo – he’s already moved up two belts - but he has his own talents too, he’s a very versatile musician and plays several instruments. Music is definitely his natural gift, and hopefully there’ll be plenty of chances to promote that once he’s at secondary school.

"When Peter first came to us, he was very quiet. I’m trained in therapeutic parenting and firmly believe that kids aren’t naturally naughty, they’ve just got a lot going on and need love and understanding to work through things. We’ve seen Peter’s self-confidence and self-esteem grow, and we rarely see his ‘angry face’ anymore.

"Over the Jubilee weekend we went to some of the celebrations in town and he joined in on the bouncy castle and chatted to a few people. Not long ago he would never have dared do that, he told me – ‘I think I’m a bit of a people person now’.

"Becoming foster carers is such an amazing journey, and Stephen, Aidan and I, would encourage everyone who has room in their heart and space in their home, to come forward and give a vulnerable child the love and support they need for an incredible future. In Aidan’s words – ‘Family is that place that you stay, with the people you love the most. It’s nice to have."

If you would like to make a real difference to the lives of vulnerable children and young people in your local community by becoming a foster carer, visit National Fostering Group today and start your highly rewarding fostering adventure!

*The child’s name has been changed for safeguarding reasons.