Ronda and Rod – TACT Foster Carers since 2014
We started to think about fostering thanks to Rod’s colleague who fostered, and who spoke about the rewards of fostering regularly. We kept thinking “we could make a difference to these children’s lives too”. As I didn’t work due to a health problem and none of our five children lived with us anymore, I had plenty of time on my hands and the thought of doing something so worthwhile prompted us to go for it.
We came across TACT online and everything about them felt right and the fact that they were a charity was even better. We had read a lot about some independent fostering agencies and we felt really uncomfortable with the fact that they were profiting from children in care; something that doesn’t happen with TACT. We filled in our details online and the very next day we got a call. From there on, it was an efficient and smooth process to get us to a panel. It did feel rather intrusive at times, however we knew that there are good reasons why the process is in-depth. We built up a great relationship with the Assessing Social Worker, so much so that we still keep in touch today. Most people, including ourselves, feel anxious about going to the panel but it was actually quite enjoyable and all the panel members made us feel very welcome and at ease.
We were approved in January 2014 and our first child arrived in March. It is hard to describe the feeling you get from the time you agree to look after a child to when you meet them for the first time. We jumped each time the phone rang. It is a mixture of excitement and nervousness, but we just reminded ourselves how these children must be feeling, and that put everything into perspective.
We have cared for a variety of children ranging in age from five months to eleven years. Each one of them has been a different experience, some harder than others, but we feel we have had a positive impact on all of them. It is an amazing feeling to see this “stranger” enter your home and to watch the progress that they make. Any difficulties we have encountered have been managed successfully due to the amazing support from all our Supervising Social Workers. Knowing that I can contact my current worker Emma anytime I need her is so reassuring and we are so grateful for the support she has given us and continues to provide. The fact that TACT also ensure there is help provided 24/7 should we need it is also very reassuring. You never know when you just might need to speak to someone to help with a situation you are struggling with.
Having two dogs certainly helped, as all the children seemed to talk to them, even if they didn’t talk much to us, and it helped them settle in during those first few anxious days. We have also had great support from our daughters who have loved getting to know the children, and the children enjoyed talking to someone younger who can possibly relate better to the way they are feeling. Last year we waved goodbye to the almost 3 year old little boy we had cared for since he was 5 months old. I won’t lie, it was the most traumatic experience we have had in our 8 years of fostering and it hugely affected all of the family. The grief we felt was something we had never felt before, however, knowing he was moving on to live with his new adoptive parents helped us to see the positives rather than feel sorry for ourselves. We are so very lucky to still keep in touch with him and his new family and it’s been great hearing and seeing how he has settled. He will always have a very special place in our hearts. Saying goodbye to the children is always difficult for us but almost all the children we have cared for have moved on to permanent homes which is a positive outcome and makes everything worthwhile.
We are currently fostering 3 siblings age 11, 10 and 8 to allow them to be able to live together as they were living separately previously. They have lived with us for just over 8 months now and the difference in all of them has been remarkable … they have all certainly made themselves at home! We love going for walks to country parks at the weekend and they all love the local trampoline park. It’s such a great feeling watching them all having fun together and our whole family have made them feel so welcome. We have just booked a Summer holiday to Spain and to say they are excited would be an understatement. This will be their first ever holiday and we are so lucky to be able to give them this experience.
I would say to anyone who is thinking about fostering that it won’t be easy and at times you might find yourself wondering what you got yourself into, but the positives far outweigh the challenges. I can guarantee fostering will be the most rewarding thing you have ever done.