Anthony – TACT Foster Carer since 2016
I have been fostering with my wife Anita for four years. It is something we have always wanted to do, so after our youngest daughter got married and moved out we had a spare room and a loving home to offer. We decided to foster through TACT because of the charity’s values and commitment to helping children in need.
After a thorough but professionally handled application process, and a nerve-racking but welcoming panel, we became approved to foster. We then had a few short-term placements with lovely children.
When we were expecting our first long term placement, we felt very nervous and kept asking ourselves questions, such as will he like us? Will he like the house? Will he settle in fine? We also thought about his background and how it might have affected him.
This young teenage boy arrived with all his possessions on the back seat of the car, and just a few clothes that did not even fit him. Before he came to us he had many foster homes and we were his last chance before going into a home for boys. He must have thought: “Here we go again, I’m soon not going to be wanted and moved on again.” However, he’s been with us for two years, and he’s very much a part of our family now.
To be honest, it wasn’t easy when the boy first came to live with us. Due to his background, he struggled with social skills and had a poor education. However, with the help from our TACT social worker Maria and his school, he has managed to turn his life around and he is now a completely normal teenager.
Our three birth children played a big role as well. They were behind us all the way when we decided to foster, but it was hard for them to watch how our foster son treated us in the beginning. With their help and understanding he has improved immensely and that is credit to them. Now they have accepted him as one of our own.
We may not be his birth parents, but he understands that we will always be here for him. He can stay with us even after leaving care, and if he wishes to move out, he will be always welcome to come around for dinner just like our own children.
There is no doubt that fostering has its lows, often caused by children’s difficult backgrounds, and in some cases complicated relationships in their own families, which can cause them distress and pain. For me, fostering has at times been quite stressful, but overall, it has also been extremely rewarding, and I feel pride in what we have achieved. As a foster carer, you are helping children to have a better, happy life in a safe environment, and you can’t put a price on that. Words can’t describe how being a foster dad feels.
I would recommend anyone who is considering fostering to think about it and don’t forget to involve your family in the decision process as you will need their support. Secondly, don’t let stories you might hear put you off; instead think about all the good you will be able to do by helping children establish a better life.