Sheila and Gareth – TACT Foster Carers since 2007
Sheila and Gareth have been TACT foster carers for 9 years. Through the many years they have fostered, they have cared for lots of children and young people.
“For me, being a foster carer is the best job in the world. We get to give children the chance of a life they would otherwise not have had. It is challenging but also so rewarding!
We once cared for a brother and sister who have now been placed for adoption. However, when they arrived, they were considered unadoptable.
The young boy in particular was very difficult, he would scream, break things and seemed to have no connection with, or love for, his sister. He would walk over her than go round her. We tried to look at the world through his eyes and worked on his social skills. We kept him at home as much as possible. TACT was very supportive during this period and our social worker, Cheryl, was always available and helpful.
Eventually both the children opened up. They blossom and it’s amazing. You can see how they come on and the anger gets replaced with laughter and affection. You can say ‘I did that, they didn’t have that before’.
We worked as a team with the Local Authority Adoption workers to prepare them for adoption. When they found parents for the children, there was a real mixture of tears as well as happiness. It’s not easy letting them go. It’s a painful process for you, and you have to be honest with the child.
When they left in January 2013, the boy said to me ‘it will be lovely to have a daddy and mummy’. The first time the social worker came with his new mum and dad, he ran down the drive saying, ‘you’re going to be my daddy’. That was my reward after two years of hard work. He saw I was a bit sad, so he said to me ‘you’re sad, but you’ve got Gareth and I’ve now got a mummy and daddy’.
They moved to their new family, but we still keep in touch. The new parents have said that we will always be part of the family.
Being a foster carer really is the best job in the world. You’re on a journey from the moment you get the children. What’s really great is when they come back and visit. The first boy we ever fostered came back to us on one New Year’s Eve as he just wanted to talk. He was 18 years old at this point and he just gave me a big hug and said ‘Mam, I’m so pleased to see you’. We talked about what he’d be up to and his plans for the future. It meant so much for him to come back to us.”