Over the past decade and a half, movements to end discrimination have expanded our historically narrow definition of ‘family’.
As a community we’ve embraced difference, and accepted that families come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The traditional parameters of Mum and Dad simply don’t work for all of us; our society is more diverse that that.
“We were one of the first gay male couples to be fostering in Australia,” Greg said.
“I was 21 at the time and I remember feeling a bit like an information source because a lot of the social workers didn’t have experience with same sex couples and whether they should be doing anything differently.
“I never felt any stigma or discrimination – but I think training has helped make everyone more aware of the different makeups of families and experiences.”
For Greg and his former partner, alternative approaches to start a family weren’t feasible at the time.
Greg has never looked back, and adores his three foster boys who are “all beautiful, but very different”.
Among plenty of activities, his eldest child loves art, while the other boys keep active with weekend soccer.
“You have to treat them in particular ways due to their trauma history but you also have to treat them like a ‘normal kid’,” he said.
“And treading that line takes a lot of thought and effort.”
Greg met his husband Alex in 2011, and he very quickly became a part of the family.
As someone with no previous parental experience, Alex said AnglicareSA training sessions provided the opportunity to engage with seasoned foster carers, and learn more about what is required when caring for children with trauma history.
“Even though I was coming into an already established foster family, I felt like I was a bit of a stranger coming into a new situation by myself,” Alex said.
“But once I was connected, it was very easy – I had people to talk to at every step and there was always extra training if needed.
While at the time, becoming a foster carer was the only option Greg had to start a family of his own, he sees it as a fulfilling way to give back to the community.
“I think that as a society we do owe these children – we do have the responsibility to make sure they’re safe,” he said.
“That’s why we have a foster care system in the first place – we want to be able to protect the children who need it most.”
If you are considering becoming a foster carer like Alex and Greg, we would love to hear from you.
For more information on becoming a foster carer call (08) 8131 3456.