A gay couple from Brighton have opened up about their experience of being foster parents for the last 22 years.
Kiiran and Chris have fostered 11 young people in the city from a variety different backgrounds.
The couple even adopted one of the foster children who came into their care, who has since got married and had a child of their own.
The two spoke to Brighton and Hove independent about the children that they’ve helped along in there transformative journey, and the tears and laughter they have experienced along the way.
“I was lucky to grow up in a house that was always busy and always supportive to friends and family going through difficult times,” said Kieran. “Fostering seemed like a natural fit for Chris and I.
The two used to lived in London and felt they should begin to foster children because they had “done everything we wanted to for ourselves” and felt it was “time to give something back”.
Chris said that he learnt he had to be “tolerant, patient and have a sense of humour” to be able to foster the children.
“You need to be able to offer emotional and practical support which they’ve often never had before. Sometimes the simplest things like buying new clothes that fit them and having an evening meal every night together at the same time will provide such pleasure for the children.”
The pair said that the most rewarding part of the job is getting to see the kids turn into adults.
“When you see them get jobs or go to college or university, it’s great to have been part of this development,” Chris said. “Seeing them create bonds with the other children we foster. We have such a large extended family now and are in touch with all of the children we’ve fostered.
Kieran recalled their adopted son’s wedding: “The best man was one of our other foster children as were two of the ushers. It’s wonderful to see how our foster children are so close, they may have nothing in common to begin with except us but then they share this bond and look out for each other.”
The couple offered up some advice for other couples who think they might follow suit.
“You’re not going to be able to change things overnight. Be patient, stick with it, recognise you’re in it for the long haul and establish boundaries and expectations at the beginning.
“Enjoy the experience moment to moment. Have fun and laugh lots.”