For as long as he can remember, Peter has always known the importance of being part of a family.
“My grandmother was in an orphanage when she was young. She understood that being part of a family, no matter what shape or form the family unit is, means so much,” Peter, a gay father of four, explains. “She always taught us about the value of family. Then, growing up in our house it was the same. We had an open door policy. If someone didn’t have a place to stay mum would make up an extra bed. It’s just what we do.”
So, when a teenage boy in the basketball team he coached needed a home and care, Peter just “did what you do.”
“His foster carers used to drop him off for training and then I learnt that they were moving interstate,” Peter said. “This young man had grown very attached to his friendship group here and he didn’t want to leave.
“I said if he needed somewhere to stay he could come and stay with us. He stayed with us part time for a few months and now, is with us for as long as he wants to be.”
While Peter’s biological children live with their mother most of the week, becoming a family based carer for the boy now means there are often up to five young people under his roof at one time.
“It makes life busy and interesting but he is 16 so he’s independent, really.
“Meeting our extended family was a bit overwhelming for him because there’s a lot of us but he took it all in his stride. He’s a good kid and also a really relaxed kid. He’s treated the same as the other four. He and my youngest son get on especially well, which is fantastic.”
Peter said he has felt very supported in his role – by Junction and the wider community.
“It (his sexuality) was never relevant in taking on this role and I just don’t feel that it should be. It makes absolutely no difference,” he said.
“It’s about helping out where you need to.
“I’ve told him that even after he’s 18 this will be his home for as long as he wants it.
“It’s a place to stay but it’s also about being part of a family.”
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