Cath and Kenny – TACT Foster Carers since 2011
We’ve always felt that as a family, we could make a difference to children and their families by supporting them through challenging times. Once we’d made the decision and commitment that we wanted to become foster carers, TACT were recommended to us by a friend who had previously fostered with them, and 7 years ago our journey with TACT began.
We did have some initial reservations while having birth children of our own living at home, however we were always honest with our children and discussed any concerns they had openly. When we have had any problems ourselves, the staff at TACT have been very knowledgeable and always willing to help, and our children have always been made aware that this support is available to them as well. They’re aware they can talk openly with our social worker if ever they have concerns, and they’re invited to attend all summer and Christmas activities which are hosted by TACT along with our foster children.
In the past we have cared for two male siblings aged 2 & 4 who were both on the autistic spectrum. The younger child had severe developmental delay and could not walk unaided, which created plenty of difficulties. Despite the challenges, we tried our best to provide the best possible care for them both and this was aided by the training supplied by TACT – this was always informative and relevant to our unique fostering role.
Watching the progress of the child who is currently in placement with us has been our favourite thing about being foster carers. He first came to us unable to speak and with lots of medical needs, as well as not sleeping properly and displaying extremely challenging behaviour. However, we’ve loved watching him develop into a confident and capable individual who now excels at school and in various sporting activities. He is a loving, well-mannered and caring young man.
Our own children have enjoyed their experiences of fostering and have all played an active role in supporting every child who has been placed in our care. They’ve all been positive role models for the fostered children and provided them with emotional support whenever it’s been necessary. Fostering has given our birth children a greater understanding of the difficulties some families can face and the impact that this has upon their children; as a result, they’ve gained a greater empathy and understanding of the different and diverse nature of families.
For us, we hope and feel that with every placement we have had we have always made a difference to their lives, no matter how small. To anyone who has considered fostering, the advice I would give is to be aware of the impact it can have on all of the family, both positive and negative. We have always consulted with our own children about placements and openly discussed their worries and concerns together. Overall, fostering has brought our family closer together and given our children a better understanding of the issues that some people unfortunately face.
As a couple, we feel it is the single most rewarding thing we have ever done.