Joyce – TACT Foster Carer since 2009
My husband John and I started fostering with TACT ten years ago, when we traded our comfortable lives and successful careers for a house full of children, teenagers, noise and bustle, and we love it!
I had a successful career in financial services, managing 50 people and then one day, ten years ago, someone from TACT visited our office to spread the word about the fostering charity opening a new office in Scotland. I liked the lady and her energy and the fact that TACT puts all surplus money back into support for the children and young people in their care. I took the information home to discuss with John. We had thought about fostering before, after we were alarmed by horrific news stories about child abuse and neglect, and we thought we could enhance a child’s life. So, we decided to take a leap of faith, called the TACT office, had the initial home visit promptly, and went through the rigorous assessment process.
When we were approved and about to care for our first foster child, I remember having mixed feelings. We were excited, anxious and we questioned if we are doing the right thing. I was giving up a well-paid job, how would this affect us? But in the end, none of that doubt could change our minds. We were on the road to becoming foster parents.
So far, we have cared for nine children, some of them were with us for only a few days, others for years, and we continue to have lovely relationships with all of them. One of our foster sons has been part of our family for eight years. He didn’t have the best start in life and we have worked hard together to get him to the stage he is at now. Relationships built on trust have got us over many obstacles. Luckily, he is turning into a pretty steady young adult, he has secured a full-time course at college and maintains a good social life with his friends.
We have also cared for two young brothers for three years and they are growing into fantastic lads.
We like to know what’s happening in children’s lives even after they move on. Our almost 20-year-old foster son keeps in regular touch and has a warm loving relationship with us, having left our care five years ago.
Each child comes with their own memories, habits, hopes and dreams. They need a lot of individual attention and nurturing, and they often know what buttons to push to get any kind of attention from adults. Your patience can get tested. However, they also all bring a lot of joy and fun. It is so rewarding to see them achieve things, every small step is a celebration.
Previously, we were leading comfortable lives, both working, our children were grown up and we enjoyed outings and seeing our grandchildren. Now our house is the hub of bustle and full of teenage noise, rushing out to after-school activities, friends coming and going etc. However, this energy keeps me going and it’s lovely to feel the love in our home and to know that each child trusts us.
Nothing can quite prepare you for the reality of fostering as every child is different. The main thing you can do is to try your best to make them feel safe. Also, TACT provides a lot of useful training so I would recommend taking advantage of as much of it as you can. And whenever needed, don’t hesitate to ask for support, there is always help at the end of the phone.