David and Ruth – TACT Foster Carers since 2018
When I look back to 2018 I am aware of how much has changed, and how life is so much better now. Back then I was a bus driver. I hated it, but I just couldn’t find what I really wanted to do, so I just plodded on driving buses, and generally feeling unfulfilled. Then I saw an advertisement which posed the question: “Could you foster?” and I thought, yes, I probably could. And fortunately, fostering charity TACT Scotland agreed with me, which is why I am now a very proud and very fulfilled full-time dad of four children – foster dad to three siblings, and dad to my birth son.
Fostering is now my full-time occupation. While I am the primary foster carer, my wife and I are very much a fostering team. When we applied to foster, our son was a baby, but we knew we could happily share our home and hearts with more children. My wife works at a school and she had seen first hand what a difference fostering makes to vulnerable children.
The children currently with us are the third set of siblings we have fostered. There is something especially satisfying knowing you are making it possible for siblings to stay together. It is challenging enough for children to go into care, but to then be separated from their brothers and sisters at such a difficult time must be really tough.
Seeing the unconditional love the siblings have for each other, and the special bond and mutual support they share, it reinforces my belief that wherever possible, siblings should always be given the chance to stay together and to be able to have a voice when it comes to making decisions for themselves and each other.
The siblings arrived last year just before Covid lock down, which was actually a really positive thing for us as the enforced amount of quality time together at home meant we all got to know and bond with each other really well. It enabled to us to work on any initial trust issues the siblings might have and to start focusing on gaps they had in their education before going into care.
When the children eventually went back to school, the teachers were impressed with how much of a positive difference living with us had made to their educational development.
I don’t see them as foster children. They are members of my family, and get exactly the same treatment on their birthdays and at Christmas as my son. He views them as his siblings. When my wife and I see how much he has benefitted from us being a fostering family we know we made the right decision.
Becoming a full time foster carer has completed my life. When I look at the children playing together I feel like my world as been opened up in a way that bus driving or most other jobs never could. I know what I do is improving the lives of children who have had a tough start in life through no fault of their own. That is so rewarding. I am finally doing something that is really worthwhile.
I would encourage people with the space in their home and hearts for children to seriously consider fostering. The application process will help you decide if it is really for you or not. And once you are an approved carer you will get lots of training and support from TACT, so you will never be alone. Fostering has made me a better and happier person, and maybe it will be the same for you. You don’t know until you try.