In the heart of Somerset, Caroline and Liz have embarked on a remarkable journey, fostering nearly 30 young individuals over the span of seven years. What makes their story even more inspiring is their unwavering support for the LGBTQ+ community. This weekend, at Taunton Pride, they stand alongside Somerset Council, encouraging others to follow in their compassionate footsteps.
Their fostering experience, ranging from overnight stays to year-long placements, has illuminated the lives of countless young people. Currently, Somerset houses nearly 300 teenagers in need of a loving home. Caroline and Liz’s story originally began with a desire to shelter unaccompanied children seeking asylum. However, the changing tides of fate led them to dedicate their home to the young souls of Somerset.
“It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster,” admits Liz, reflecting on their journey. “But for the most part, it’s been joyful.” Welcoming teenagers into their home, many experiencing the care system for the first time, they strive to create a warm and nurturing environment. Liz adds, “That feeling when they wake up the next morning, you can see it’s almost like they’ve taken a breath.”
In their fostering role, being a loving gay couple has never posed any challenges, but rather, it has been met with positivity. As Liz points out, “We talk to our young people about it. They are very progressive. They just say ‘I’m not bothered’ and that’s nice.” Some teenagers even express a preference for being with a same-sex couple, depending on their past traumas.
Their dedication to fostering extends beyond their own experiences, as Liz and Caroline offer guidance to other LGBTQ+ couples considering this path. Somerset Council’s Lead Member for Children, Families, and Education, Cllr Tessa Munt, emphasizes the importance of fostering teenagers, acknowledging the challenges they often carry due to past traumas. She believes that carers like Caroline and Liz have made a genuine difference in the lives of over 20 young people by providing a stable home and a supportive family environment when needed the most.
Through their presence at Taunton Pride, Caroline and Liz hope to inspire others to consider fostering young people, emphasizing the transformative impact it can have on both the lives of the carers and the youths they embrace. Their story is a testament to love, acceptance, and the power of the LGBTQ+ community to make a positive change in the world.