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Home   Dartford   News   Article

Same sex Greenhithe couple become family of five after becoming foster parents

22 February 2014
by Thom Morris

They were used to offering care and support to those aged 16 to 21, but young siblings were a different matter.

But after a year in their home in Greenhithe, the two brothers and sister are happy and thriving with their new loving family.

Couple Brian Yusuf and Lee Marshall became a family of five overnight

Couple Brian Yusuf and Lee Marshall became a family of five overnight

Kent County Council wants to encourage more people to consider changing a child’s life.

In particular, foster carers are needed who can look after brothers and sisters in order to help them stay together.

Brian, 31, said: “We found the young people we were already caring for often had quite a few issues by the time they came to us. We thought that if we went back to the start of it, when they were young, we could do something about it. So that’s how we came to think about fostering.”

The couple were keen to foster siblings as they were able to offer them the space and opportunity to stay together.

They were initially asked to take in the older brother, 10, and his sister, eight, but when social workers asked if they could also offer a home to their five-year-old brother, they said yes.

“A year on, things have been great. Our oldest boy suffered a bit of bullying when he changed schools because we are a same-sex couple but the school was really supportive..."

Brian said: “We knew they were coming so we were prepared but owing to the nature of the court process, on the day it all happened very quickly.

“We were called at 1.30pm on December 13, 2012 and two hours later the three children arrived on our doorstep.

“The children were quite subdued that first night and it was hard because they were with two strangers and we didn’t know what would make them happy.

“The first night they spent in one bedroom with the youngest two clinging to each other. It was a case of gently easing them into a routine, taking it at their pace, and making them feel secure.”

Despite the difficult start the children, who we cannot name, had in life, they quickly felt at home with Brian and Lee. The couple plan to apply to become permanent foster carers for them.

Brian said: “We were amazed at how quickly we felt like a family. I kept saying to the social worker, when is the honeymoon period going to be over?

“A year on, things have been great. Our oldest boy suffered a bit of bullying when he changed schools because we are a same-sex couple but the school was really supportive and the pastoral care is excellent.

“We’ve got good contacts at the school and keep in touch and there haven’t been any problems since.

“The children have picked up our mannerisms and our sense of humour. I’m from up North and we’ve taken them to see my family a few times. When we left to come home after the first time, they had all picked up Geordie accents and they still do it now to wind us up.

“For Christmas, we made a calendar for their parents made up of pictures of the children from throughout the year and it’s amazing to see how much they’ve changed.

“They’ve flourished and they just look healthy and happy – you can see the difference physically.”

Brian and Lee hope their family’s experience will encourage others to take the plunge and think about opening their home to a vulnerable child or even siblings, who desperately need a secure and loving family.

Lee, 36, said: “Personally, I think the rewarding thing is the feeling that you’re helping children who haven’t had a good start in life and you’re doing something to change that.

“You can offer the children something you’ve got and let them experience being a child.

“You can give them the best opportunities to succeed instead of just surviving day-to-day and thinking that it’s normal.

“It’s introducing a new normality and giving them experiences they’ve never had before.”

To find out more about fostering, visit www.kentfostering.co.uk or call 0845 330 2968.

You can also attend an nformation event at 7pm Wednesday, February 26, at The Olympic, Beechenlea Lane, Swanley, BR8 8DR.

Click here for more news from Dartford.

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