As part of our blog series chatting to LGBT foster carers, we sit down with Matt Rood who has recently been crowned Mr Gay Europe. Matt used to foster with his husband and has been generating amazing awarenes with his campaign 'Pride Families' promoting fostering and adoption within the LGBT community.
How long did you foster and how many children did you look after?
Myself and my ex husband fostered for three years and in that time looked after 5 young people.
Why did you decide to foster?
My partner grew up in foster care and he had always wanted to give another child a stable and loving home in the way that he had received as a child in care. I love children and we wanted a family so it seemed the right thing to do.
What has been the best thing about fostering?
We loved seeing the children grow in confidence and start to come out of their shells. They really enjoyed family time and spending time together doing very normal things. They loved days out and just having attention and nurture.
What has been the most difficult thing about fostering?
Saying good bye is always difficult and one of our children sometimes had quite challenging behaviour so that could be difficult to manage sometimes.
Why did you give up fostering?
It was strange because on the actual day we moved our last children back to their families I was offered an amazing business opportunity which we couldn’t turn down. It was almost as if one door had closed and another opened. Setting up a new business needed both of us to make it work. It was a tough decision to make as we thoroughly enjoyed our time as carers, but we both decided to go for it as we both felt we were ready for a new challenge.
As a same sex couple have you encountered any issues or discrimination?
Not at all. The children who lived with us loved that they had two dads. I was definitely nervous at the start but in reality we had no reason to be worried as never encountered any challenges.
What advice would you give to an LGBT person or family considering fostering?
It could be the best thing you ever do. If you have time, a spare room, you have experience looking after children and you want to do something extremely rewarding, do it!! Of all the things I’ve done, I’m most proud about my time as a foster parent and would definitely recommend it.