Two gay elders have opened their home and lives to a slew of foster children since they retired. So far, they have fostered 33 kids and have no intention of stopping any time soon.
Their first placement was a six-year-old boy and his nine-year-old sister. The siblings stayed with the couple for a year.
“As the main carer, I decided that emergency and respite care would be more suitable to our lifestyle. Obviously, emergency and respite care entails a high turnover of placements, which can last anywhere from 24 hours to a few months,” Barney told the outlet.
“We have cared for children and young people from the age of six to 17 years old over the past four years, so needs, routines, interventions, and boundaries change constantly.”
He added, “Whatever the day brings, providing a constant calm, safe, and caring environment is paramount.”
The rewards are obvious, they say. The goal is to provide the children with the safety and encouragement to handle the adversity life has thrown at them.
“Some children and young people come to us in a state of chaos, with low self-esteem and confidence, and they leave with increased confidence and self-esteem, having learned age-appropriate, independent living skills to help them move further in life,” Barney said.
They encouraged other queer couples to consider becoming foster parents too. There are approximately 391,000 children in foster care in the United States, and every state needs loving individuals who are willing to open their homes to kids in need.
“I can only assume that many from the LGBTQ+ community who are concerned that their sexual orientation or identity would be a barrier to fostering associate their concern with negative attitudes that still exist in society,” Barney said.
“For us, the positive outcomes that can and have been achieved for the vulnerable children and young people we have cared for far outweigh any concern we have for narrow-minded, intolerant individuals.”