Glancing down at her tiny fingers, little button nose and soft curls, Josh held his newbornniece tightly. He was so in love. One glance to his husband Terry, and they both knew they were ready to start a family of their own.

“Holding her for the first time, the emotions were intense. We knew for certain that we were meant to have children, so we started to research the adoption and fostering processes. We worked hard on our home to ensure we were where we needed to be to move to the next step.”

Joy to Sadness

But when Josh received the awful news that his brother had lost his battle with cancer, he was completely distraught. One thing haunted him more than anything, his future children wouldn’t get to know their amazing uncle or have him in their lives.

“When he passed away, it really knocked us, it made us regret that we hadn’t fostered earlier. He was such a lovely, brilliant character. We had waited too long. We were on a real emotional rollercoaster, but from that point, it made us see what we needed to do.”

The death of his brother highlighted how fragile life can be. Both he and his partner didn’t want to waste anymore time, they felt ready to make a real difference to a young person’s life.

“We’ve been together for along time and always wanted children as we both come from big families. We decided upon fostering because there are so many children who need somewhere to go,” mentions Josh. “These children need love, and we have a lot of love to give, and a lovely home for them to feel safe and secure.”

We Were Ready

Championing that children deserve the chance to be part of a happy family environment and have a safe place to learn and grow, Josh and Terry were ready.

“We decided to go down this route because there is a lot of support from the likes of Apex Agency, whereas adoption, you adopt and that support disappears. Not having kids before, choosing fostering, with the ongoing backing, we felt we were fully able to support the children.”

Josh was well aware of the need to nurture, grow and develop a young person, especially at a complicated time in their life.

“Everyone’s childhood is different, it’s about making sure that the rest of their childhood is how a childhood should be, and not what they’ve experienced so far – making that change, breaking the cycle.”

Shaping a child’s future for the better is, undoubtedly, as rewarding as it gets, but Josh soon realised he was shaping his life too and stepping well out of his comfort zone.

“I put all my effort into the children, and I often forget about myself. I often tell myself I can’t do things, but I’ve learned that I actually can. The children are my driving force. I now push myself a lot more,” explains Josh.

Long Term Placement

“We hoped for a long term placement, so that we were able to care for the children until they were 18, and then they could settle, and not have to change location or schools and make friends all over again, this way we were giving them the stability they needed.”

“We have seen some massive changes within the children – our seven year old was unable to read. Two years on, with love and encouragement, he is now a fluent reader. We’ve seen him develop and grow so much through his achievements. Our eldest struggled with his emotions, but with lots of love and nurturing, he’s come through to the other side. He’s a completely different child, it’s amazing to see,” says Josh.

“We have had tough times, but it’s all worked out perfectly. Of course, anyone new to this is going to have initial concerns, but I really recommend just doing it, you will always have support from people – especially working with Apex, they are always there for us. I’ve even encouraged my sister as a single foster carer, knowing she would have all the support she needs.”

Fostering Together

So although Josh’s fostering story began with loss and sadness, his late brother played a huge part in the direction and timing of Josh’s life. Starting the fostering process at that time brought Josh and Terry together with their beautiful children, to create a family centred on love, support and trust. He will forever be present in all their lives.

Josh sits smiling, his caring eyes glowing as he lifts his head to say, “I foster simply to be able to give my children the love and support they need. I want to ensure they have a better childhood, help them flourish, be the best version of themselves and to have a better life.”

With you Josh, I think they will.