“We didn’t have the experience which many have, but we’ve never let that stop us fostering.”

Author: TACT

Tags: Fostering without birth children, Long term fostering, Saying goodbye

Neil and Pauline – TACT Foster Carers since 2012

After moving into a larger house, and with having no children of our own, myself and Neil found ourselves with a rather empty and quiet home around us. We had thought about fostering for a while and decided to contact a few agencies to find out a bit more. Unfortunately, we heard back from our local council who informed us they weren’t interested in us due to us having no experience of raising our own children. We thought that was it and we decided to forget it. However, we heard back from TACT, who asked us why we had changed our minds. They sent someone out to visit us, and the rest is history.

We didn’t have the experience which many have when they start fostering, but we’ve never let that stop us. The children we’ve cared for have taught us many things along the way, and we’ve always tried to be open and adaptable to each child who comes into our house. They’ve brought so much love and laughter into what was previously a quiet household which has completely changed our lives. Some of the things the kids come out with, their wee personalities and their beautifully innocent understanding of life are just some of the things we love about fostering.

TACT have been a real support to us throughout the whole fostering process. The training provided is always presented well with a lot of knowledge and understanding. It certainly makes you think in different ways about things you might not have considered before, which is brilliant because ultimately that will lead to better outcomes for the children. The support we’ve had throughout our placements from our social worker has been brilliant, while everyone else within TACT we’ve encountered has been lovely and so approachable when we’ve had any issues.

Fostering has changed our lives in so many ways. There are times when it can be tiring and we’ve questioned what we’ve let ourselves in for – we’ve experienced angry bursts, fighting and behavioural issues. Despite these moments though, we love what we do and wish we had started years ago. The 5% of the time that can be difficult is more than made up for by the 95% of the time which is fantastic.

All the children have been so special in their own ways and it’s so amazing to see them go back to their families once the issues have been sorted out. It can sometimes be emotional to say goodbye to the children after they’ve spent so long in our house with us and we’ve formed a bond, but we always know that the children being reunited with their families is the best possible outcome if a safe and loving home can be assured. We hope that skills and confidence they have gained while with us will endure.

We’ve been lucky to have a supportive system around us throughout our fostering journey. Our families have been so helpful, always taking to all the children we have looked after and assisting us whenever necessary. We’ve been able to meet lots of other foster carers through TACT support groups and being able to go for a coffee with them or call them for a catch up has really helped us in this experience – it’s always good to have people close to you who understand what you’re going through and have experienced it themselves. Our fostering community is one big family really. Brilliantly, my cousin and her husband watched us becoming foster carers and decided to go for it themselves – they’re now approved foster carers and absolutely love it.

If you’re thinking about fostering look into it, do your research and make sure it’s for you. It’s always good as well speaking to as many people you can – try and talk to other foster carers, or give TACT a call. Most of all, go in with open arms and an open heart – fostering is the best thing we’ve ever done and we absolutely love it.