Dawn and Tom – TACT Foster Carers since 2013
Fostering had been something we’d been thinking of for some time and we had a passion to help children that really needed it. After hearing about TACT through friends, we decided to give it a go.
So far, fostering has been a really enjoyable experience for us. We’ve cared for a variety of children since we were approved – both on a short and long-term basis, ranging in ages from 5 to 16, and we’ve always been given training for whatever different issue we’ve faced which has been excellent. The support we receive from the West Midlands team is also great. They’ve been there whenever we’ve needed them and there’s always a friendly voice at the other end of the phone.
My favourite thing about being a foster carer is being able to watch our children developing, making new friends and doing well at school. Seeing them become wonderful young individuals who have a voice with their own opinions, whilst being a part of our family, is brilliant. It’s incredibly rewarding when young people who have moved on come back to stay with us as a part of our family. It’s lovely to see that we had that much of a positive impact on their lives that they want to come back and see us. We were even made godparents of one of our previous foster child’s own child!
We’re currently providing care for a sibling group of two. They provide love and support for each other and being in the same fostering family means they aren’t alone as they go through these experiences together. Even though they have the traditional sibling rivalry that many of us have, they know they are there for each other and will always have experiences they can talk about together for the rest of their lives.
I think it’s so important that siblings are kept together in fostering families. When a child has been moved away from their family it’s often a traumatic experience – being together with a sibling provides some familiarity and a stable relationship which can help them to not feel as scared or lonely. I think potential foster carers should be open to caring for siblings if they can not only for this reason, but also because your helping to grow a bond between them that will be there for life.
There can occasionally be challenges associated with fostering which often arise as a result of wanting to learn about and be able to help the child as much as possible. Sometimes issues arise with the time taken to get information back to us about the child we support, or not having enough information on them at all. There are a lot of professionals involved in the fostering system and unfortunately it doesn’t always flow seamlessly between everyone.
Being able to help the young people and share experiences with them has made fostering a humbling experience for us. We’ve become more in tune with our own feelings as the young people share their emotions and experiences with us. We listen, laugh and cry together and I think this is the foundation of making a fostering match between us and a young person work.
Fostering is hard work; total dedication is needed and we’ve had sad experiences as well as good. However, when you get to see the children develop and achieve it makes fostering the most valuable experience we’ve ever had. To anyone who is considering fostering, make sure you take everything in and don’t think you can solve everything single-handedly – there are things which you won’t deal with without the support of family, friends and wonderful guidance from professionals. Happily, TACT have provided that fabulous support to us whenever we’ve needed it.