The first thing that strikes you about John and Rob is their warmth and eagerness to talk about the joy they experience being foster dads to a 7-year old boy. The same-sex couple from Wollongong admit that it was exhausting at first as they all got used to a new routine and developed the rules of the house.

The couple describe their foster son as an open, happy child who is gaining confidence as time goes on, and say they have noticed a huge difference in him in the 19 months that he’s been with them.

“He was very quiet and had a little bit of a speech delay when he came to us,” they explained, “but now he talks and talks. He even sings himself to sleep, making up the words to his own songs.”

The two dads foster through Caresouth and are thrilled with the level of support they receive from the agency. “We can call our caseworker any time,” they said, “and she has been really helpful in guiding us on how to respond in certain situations. We’ve been offered heaps of training opportunity too.”

While they hope to be able to adopt their son in the future, John and Rob are committed to keeping him connected to his biological family, even travelling to Western NSW to spend Christmas with his siblings.

“I grew up with a brother who was my best friend,” said John, “I wanted that experience for our foster son. There are questions about his past we can’t answer that his siblings can. One lives locally and we are able to catch up for BBQs. The other two don’t live nearby but we use face-time and get together at special times of the year. It can be a bit scary at first meeting this whole new family, but everyone has been really welcoming. They understand what happened and that he’s happy and thriving. It’s been a really positive experience for all of us.”

John and Rob are thoroughly enjoying family life with their foster son. As John says, “I couldn’t imagine life without him.”