“We just wanted to help children, it’s as simple as that. We wanted them to have a good time, be safe and happy. Looking back, we were probably a bit naive but the fact we are still doing it all this time on says it all,” says Sue.
That’s not to say it hasn’t been without its challenges, especially as they went on to have four children of their own, now aged 16 to 32. But daughter Laura, 19, says she has loved growing up with such a large extended family and would even think about fostering herself if future circumstances allowed.
Sue explains: “Our children do not know any different; they’ve been born into it and have become a real part of the support network – we could not do it without them. They have always been capable a bit beyond their years, which I don’t think is a bad thing. We are all one big team."
The children they foster range in age from birth right up to late teens and can stay from a few weeks to, in some cases, six years. On average, they have three children staying with them at any one time. Over the years, they have tended to specialise in helping the more difficult-to-place children, who may have challenging behaviour, health problems or come from abusive backgrounds, but they say every child differs.
Iain believes there are people out there who would make brilliant foster carers, but often don’t think they would be accepted.
“These days it really is not just the 2.4 children nuclear family they are looking for. They don’t necessarily need to have their own children, we didn’t. They want to hear from single people, gay couples – at the end of the day, it’s the quality of care the children are going to get that is important. Nothing else.”