Lesbian couple Joanne Perks and Lisa Baldwin share their story
BY DIVA STAFF
Joanne Perks and Lisa Baldwin, have been fostering with Foster Care Associates (FCA) for the past 12 months. As well as having a birth daughter, they have been supporting long-term placements for children, as well as shorter, emergency placements. They are currently fostering a 15-year-old boy.
We spoke to Joanne to find out what a typical day entails as a foster carer, as well as discussing their efforts to dispel myths around fostering children as a gay couple.
We’re a typical family; our mornings are busy getting everyone ready and out of the house for school/work. But not before I take our rescue pup, Pearl, for a walk, which also allows me to get some fresh air and relaxation (the calm before the storm!)
The rest of the morning is filled with school runs, while Lisa leaves for work as a dementia adviser. Our birth daughter, Emily, nine, goes to school locally, whereas our foster son, who is 15, has one-to-one tutoring three days a week at a college slightly further afield. So it’s usually quite hectic as we work around everyone’s schedules!
I generally use this time to grab a bite to eat and catch up on (the seemingly endless) housework. On the days where our foster son is attending his half days at college, I usually stay nearby, using the time to catch up with friends, do some shopping and the general “life admin” tasks. The car journey to and from college is a great time to catch up and chat about how our day has been.
Once both children have been collected and we’re back home together, I help with homework and we then like to chill out watching a bit of television – when we’re not fighting over what to watch! Once Lisa is home we settle down to dinner together as a family. The children enjoy helping out at dinnertime, assisting with the cooking, and sometimes we bake too.
Before the children go to bed, we have some quality family time and often enjoy playing on the Nintendo SNES together! Emily has always got on with the other children we’ve brought into our lives, and we’ve witnessed how it has developed her own character too which is great to see. After the children’s bedtimes, Lisa and I squeeze in some relaxation before doing it all again the next day!
Although this is just a typical day, no two days are exactly the same, and that’s what we love about being foster carers.
As you can see, our day sounds just like any other family. To be a foster carer requires commitment, a strong team (if you’re fostering as a couple) and endless love. Although at the start we were nervous about how being gay foster parents would be perceived by others, and the children, we have found that it really doesn’t matter.
Deciding to foster has been one of the best decisions we’ve ever made, and we’re looking forward to fostering many more children in the future who need that extra love, care and attention.
We enjoy seeing each child excel and thrive, knowing that our love and support has helped them on their journey.
For more information on Foster Care Associates (FCA), please visit www.thefca.co.uk.
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