John Guthrie and Dennis Cash never wanted children. Somehow, they’ve found themselves fostering and mentoring a dozen children over the last 20 years.
“In our 30s and 40s, life was pretty good for us. We were both reasonably successful, we had a great social life eating out and meeting friends, travelling, just generally enjoying life wherever we could,” Dennis said on Monday night’s Australian Story.
“We’d never really thought about having kids, we were having too good a time as just a couple, then we’d seen an ad in the local newspaper for [foster care not-for-profit Barnardos Australia] and thought ‘well this sounds pretty interesting’.”
For the couple who met through “the original online dating website”, Yvonne Allen & Associates over 30 years ago, the decision to exclusively foster teenage girls came from a concern over how two middle-aged, gay men fostering children might be perceived.
“I had some concerns about fostering young boys, being a same-sex couple, only because of what people might think. So my stipulation was that they had to be girls,” Dennis explained.
Despite their reservations about whether they were really equipped to deal with young children that might have difficulties and need more specialised care, they've since provided a home for girls from the age of 12 until they turned 18 for two decades.
Describing John and Dennis as "quite a team", Sarah, now 30 was the couple's first foster child.
"I was lucky to walk out of my biological family's life alive, I don't think I could have survived any longer with the level of abuse," she said.
Having suffered 21 fractures by the time she arrived at John and Dennis' house at the age of 12, Sarah struggled to adjust to her new environment.