Yasmin and Mattin – TACT foster carers since 2020
I started fostering in October 2020, I was at a time in my life where I was able to share my experiences as a parent, as my two children had left home and gone to study at university. My husband, Mattin, is a mental health nurse and has worked extensively with children with trauma. Knowing he has a lot of experience gave me the confidence that we would be able to provide a loving and supportive home to vulnerable young people who need it.
I chose TACT because they are a non-profit making charity and they invest in looking after children and not beholden to any shareholders.
When our first foster child – a 16 year old girl, was placed with us I wasn’t too worried as I felt that TACT had prepared us well. Our social worker had explained to us thoroughly what to expect and gave us lots of resources, plus I did my own research. Of course, I was nervous, but I knew that it wasn’t about me. How daunting must it be for the child to stay with a family they had never met before?
Looking after her was challenging, it was hard to know what behaviours were caused by trauma and what were just a normal part of being a teenage girl. Obviously fostering means that, sadly, children have been put in situations that have caused them pain, from their own families, physically and emotionally.
The low points of fostering are when this pain transcends into behaviour that becomes difficult to manage. However, TACT has been amazing and we’ve never felt alone during our fostering journey. We know that the TACT social workers will always be available to support us 24/7 whether to give us advice, offer us training or just be there to talk things through with.
Even though my first placement only lasted six months, I still feel that it was a success because she grew in so many ways. There were challenging moments, but there were also moments of complete trust and openness. These times were so rewarding and made our relationship more connected.
There were trips to the beach at night which were a significant highlight with the entire family. She liked to take care of me and helped me so that I wouldn’t fall on the rocks. Her behaviour didn’t improve completely but the ‘rough edges’ were becoming smoother, and we made progress on her willingness to engage with education and training, after a lot of negotiation.
As a Muslim carer, I feel that I am well equipped to help children, as not only do I know about the British culture, I also practice my faith, so I can tap into two different experiences so giving more to the children I foster.
Both my foster children have been Muslim, but different nationalities. They didn’t practice their faith but appreciated that I understood this and was a focus in our home.
Diversity is featured heavily in the school curriculum and as a Muslim carer born in England, I hope I can promote this positively with the children that come into my care. Muslims come from all over the world, and it is interesting how we all have differences in culture but not in belief. We can then share these differences and learn from each other and connect, in this way the child doesn’t lose their religious background, even if they don’t practice their faith it is still a reminder of who they are. We learn from each other and it’s fun, for example, learning about different foods and sometimes this can help indirectly alleviate trauma that might be going on in a child’s mind.
Despite the challenges, fostering is great, especially when the child is happy and blends in with the rest of the family. When you see them enjoying day-to-day life and connecting with everyone, creating happy memories and feeling safe it is amazing.