Ronda and Rod – TACT Foster Carers since 2014
We started to think about fostering thanks to Rod’s colleague who fostered, and spoke about the rewards of fostering regularly. We kept thinking “we could make a difference to these children’s lives too”. As I didn’t work due to a health problem and none of our five children lived with us anymore, I had plenty of time on my hands and the thought of doing something so worthwhile prompted us to go for it.
We came across TACT online and everything about them felt right and the fact that they were a charity was even better. We had read a lot about some independent fostering agencies and we felt really uncomfortable with the fact that they were profiting from children in care.
We filled in our details online and the very next day we got a call. From there on, it was an efficient and smooth process to get us to a panel, although it did feel rather intrusive at times. However, we knew that there are good reasons why the process is in-depth. We built up a great relationship with the Assessing Social Worker, so much so that we still keep in touch today. Most people, including ourselves, feel anxious about going to the panel but it was actually quite enjoyable and all the panel members made us feel very welcome and at ease.
We were approved in January 2014 and our first child arrived in March. It is hard to describe the feeling you get from the time you agree to look after a child to when you meet them for the first time. We jumped each time the phone rang. It is a mixture of excitement and nervousness, but we just reminded ourselves how these children must be feeling, and that put everything into perspective.
We have cared for a variety of children ranging in age from six months to eleven years. Each one of them has been a different experience, some harder than others, but we feel we have had a positive impact on all of them. It is an amazing feeling to see this “stranger” enter your home and to watch the progress that they make.
Having two dogs certainly helped, as all the children seemed to talk to them, even if they didn’t talk much to us, and it helped them settle in during those first few anxious days. We have also had great support from our daughters who have loved getting to know the children, and the children enjoyed talking to someone younger who can possibly relate better to the way they are feeling.
We are currently caring for an eleven-month-old baby boy which has been the hardest thing to do so far, but also the one that has given us so much back. He was initially very quiet and unsettled, but he is now a happy little boy. Our daughter Ashleigh gave birth to her own baby boy ten months ago, and now our grandson and foster son have become the best of friends, helping each other develop, which is lovely to watch.
We are not looking forward to this little boy leaving as we have bonded closely with him. Saying goodbye to the children is always difficult for us but almost all the children we have cared for have moved on to permanent homes which is a positive outcome. Whenever possible, we try to keep in touch with the children or with their new foster carers to see how they are doing. We formed a lovely relationship with the last child we have cared for before the baby and even after he moved on to another placement, we have attended his Sunday football matches on quite few occasions.
I would say to anyone who is thinking about fostering that it won’t be easy and at times you might find yourself wondering what you got yourself into, but the positives far outweigh the challenges. I can guarantee fostering will be the most rewarding thing you have ever done.