Michelle and Christopher – TACT Foster carers since 2012
Marie and Brayden – TACT Foster Carers since 2018
Before Michelle and Christopher became foster carers six years ago, Michelle worked as a nursery nurse for ten years. “Seeing on a daily basis what a difference you can make, I wanted to help children all the time rather than just leave it at work”.
They decided to foster with TACT because they had friends who were already fostering with the fostering and adoption charity. “We really liked the fact that they are a non-profit making agency and all the money goes towards the care of children and support of foster carers.”
For the last five years they’ve been caring for two sisters now aged 11 and 13. Their biggest reward is just seeing their foster children being settled and classing them as their mum and dad. However, this has not been without it’s difficulties, and Michelle and Christopher are still having some challenging times with one of their children.
Michelle and Christopher have a birth son Brayden, and after witnessing his parents fostering experience for six years, he and his wife Marie decided to apply to TACT to be foster carers as well.
“Watching Michelle and Christopher make a difference made us want to do the same,” said Marie. This is despite the challenging times they have witnessed.
Brayden and Marie knew exactly what to expect from the application process and they were successfully approved as TACT foster carers in April 2018 at the age of 29 and 26.
They didn’t have to wait long for their first placement. “We met her on Friday and she moved in on Monday. It was a strange feeling knowing someone new is going to live with us. Until then, it was just Brayden, me and the dog as we don’t have children of our own. Suddenly a 12-year-old girl moved in.”
Marie and Brayden have seen a wonderful transition in their first foster daughter.
Brayden said: “Before coming to us, she wasn’t doing well in school, she was often given detention. Now she is doing fantastic and she even became a mentor for younger students. When I see how happy she is in school and how teachers are praising her, I think – I’ve done that!”
Marie and Brayden also find it rewarding to give their foster daughter new experiences. In the summer, they took her on her very first holiday together with Michelle, Christopher and their two foster daughters. “We all went to Cornwall in one caravan. It went surprisingly really well!”
In August, two other children came into Marie’s and Brayden’s life – a five-year-old boy and his five-month-old baby sister.
Marie said: “Our oldest foster daughter was a bit jealous to begin with, but now they get on really well and she helped them settle in with us. The five-year-old boy got a little upset shortly after they moved in. He couldn’t understand why he is staying with us and why he can’t just go home. Our oldest foster daughter kindly explained to him that she used to feel the same way, but now she loves it. The very next day he woke up saying ‘You were right, I love it here now!’”
Despite the age difference between all their foster children, the whole family jells well and they have lots of fun activities with each other such as mini golfing, trampolining, shopping and many other things.
Marie says: “It can be a bit of a big task, but we do it because it brings lots of laughter and happy memories.”
They are sometimes joined by Michelle and Christopher’s daughter, and Brayden’s 24-year-old sister Holly.
Michelle said: “Holly was absolutely ecstatic when we got the referral for our girls. It came on her 19th birthday and all she wanted was two sisters. She absolutely loves being a big sister and she says she will probably end up being a foster carer too.”
Marie would recommend everyone who is considering fostering to stop thinking about it and do it as there is an urgent need for more foster carers.
She said: “We held off for two years as something always came up and made us push it off. However, we are so happy we decided to go ahead in the end, as seeing our foster children happy is the most rewarding experience.”