Adoping and fostering children brings with it many rewards – but despite this there is a national shortage of foster carers today.
A campaign is under way to encourage more would-be carers to come on board – especially those in same-sex relationships.
LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender) Adoption and Fostering Week runs until Sunday and sends a message outto the one million LGBT people who could become foster carers.
Biggleswade foster carer Sally Hazeltine has been raising children for three years.
Sally and her civil partner of four years currently have two foster children.
The 39-year-old and her partner – who have been in a relationship for six years – may also adopt in the future.
Sally, a personal trainer, said: “I was in foster care myself as a child and I have many happy memories.
“To be honest the most important aspect of fostering is providing a loving and supportive home so someone’s sexuality is not something that should really come into it.”
Sally believes that there can be advantages to a foster child being brought up by a same-sex couple though.
She added: “There may be cases where a child has been subjected to abuse by a man, making it difficult to trust or feel comfortable with a possible male foster carer.
“In these circumstances having two women as carers can make a real difference.”
Sally and her partner have fostered a number of youngsters and have gained great satisfaction from the difference they have made to the children’s lives.
She said: “Developing trust and helping the child to feel comfortable is one of the main challenges.
“Sometimes a child may find it difficult to sleep with their bedroom door closed or with the light off, for example.
“Over time you can reassure them and develop that trust.
“We will often see children who we have fostered previously and we are always heartened that we have been able to make a difference.”
The contentment that fostering brings more than makes up for any sacrifices that are made, Sally said.
She added: “You obviously have to put the children first but you get so much back.”
For more visit www.lgbtadoptfosterweek.org.uk