Andy – TACT Foster Carer since 2007
“Fostering is a job for life”, says Andy. “It’s more than just putting a roof over someone’s head and food in their stomach. Otherwise it’s not worth doing.”
Andy was approved by TACT to become a foster carer in December 2007. When he talks about the two 14-year-old boys in his care, you can’t fail to see how much he cares about them. He wants the best for them both and will fight for it. Stephen has lived with Andy since February 2008. He’d had a history of violent behaviour and had been excluded from school a number of times. Matt joined them in June 2008. He had drug and alcohol issues and wasn’t in school.
Stephen and Matt had never had strong male adults in their lives and Andy feels this was why TACT placed them with him. And perhaps also why he has managed to connect with them in a way adults hadn’t before. Andy remembers one of the first times he collected Stephen from school. “He told me he’d been asked to play football that evening. He was so chuffed when I said of course he could stay on. I thought, how often has anyone said “yes” to him? That was our first real connection.
“You do make mistakes. It’s a steep learning curve and I’m still discovering things. The important thing is you learn from your mistakes. And TACT has a 24 hour call out. The support is always there. Fostering was one of the best decisions I ever made. It’s incredibly rewarding and there are magical moments.” One of those magical moments was when Andy gave Stephen his first ‘real’ Christmas.
“Stephen wanted to open his presents at the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve – he was as excited as a little kid. And then he was knocking on my door at 6.30am! He was beside himself as he opened his presents, and I was touched when he gave me a present too. This is what it’s all about. Giving kids life experiences that should be “normal” but that they’ve missed out on so far.” When you hear about times like this, you begin to understand some of the rewards fostering brings.