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Bexley gay foster parents make appeal during national LGBT adoption week
YOU can’t beat the look on a child’s face when you take them for their first holiday.
For Belvedere foster couple Lynne Cook and Jo Gormley, the chance to give the more than 20 children they have fostered in the last eight years the joy of a trip to Disneyland makes the whole thing worth it.
The pair were the first of Bexley’s three LGBT foster couples and have not looked back since, with a nine-year-old boy and two sisters – aged 11 and 16 – currently in their care.
Lynne, 53, has been together with 43-year-old Lewisham Council housing officer Jo for 14 years, during which they have taken children to Spain and Turkey as well as to see Mickey Mouse in Paris.
She said: "To take a child on their first holiday is absolutely amazing.
"Fostering is very rewarding but it can be challenging.
"Every day is different."
The full-time carer says the boy they have had since he was five has gone "from strength to strength".
She said: "He’s sports mad now whereas when he came to us he wasn’t interested."
Lynne, whose partner and her were themselves adopted, says prospective LGBT carers in the borough should "go for it, because you can get so much pleasure out of it."
She added: "You can have bad times as well but on the whole the good times are far better.
"Sometimes the parents can be a little bit prejudiced and that sort of thing but whenever there have been any problems Bexley have been right behind us."
Jim Lane, 27, says he and 26-year-old partner Jemal Koscan have never had any trouble with parents over the five children they have fostered in the last two years.
Jim said: "There is more gay awareness these days and the children accept it really easily."
The couple of nine years currently care for a 10-year-old and two two-year-olds.
Full-time carer Jim added: "They haven’t had a great start in life.
"The children come to us not having these life skills: things like manners and just saying please and thank you.
"Jemal and I know we have done our job when they have got these kind of skills."
Jemal Koscan (left) and Jim Lane
Bexley Council say foster carers can be married, co-habiting, single, gay or lesbian, live in a house or flat and have their own children or not.
A statement said: "They just need to be able to offer a loving and supportive home."
Cabinet member for children's services and community safety, Councillor Katie Perrior, added: "No two children are exactly the same and we know that no two families are the same.
"If someone can provide a safe and loving home for our children we would welcome them.
"Nothing should deter potential foster carers from coming forward."
Find out more about fostering in Bexley by calling 0800 783 7699, email email@example.com or visit bexley.gov.uk/fostering
For more on LGBT Adoption Week, visit lgbtadoptfosterweek.org.uk