Sarah and Richard – TACT Foster Carers since 2016
A few years ago, my husband Richard and I started thinking about fostering, as we wanted to give children a chance to have a better future and to give back to society. We were both lucky enough to have a good upbringing and a big, close family, so we wanted to offer that opportunity to someone less fortunate. Also, I was fed up with working long hours for no gratitude, so I decided a change was needed. We looked at several fostering agencies and decided to contact TACT because we liked the fact that they are a charity and that they are really family oriented.
At that time, we didn’t have any children of our own and we were mostly interested in caring for babies. However, we learnt that there is a much more urgent need for fostering teenagers rather than small children. Following our approval as foster carers, I fell pregnant with our daughter Hattie who is now nearly 16 months old. We went on hold until after Hattie’s birth to allow us to prepare for and get used to being first time parents. As our baby needs a lot of attention, we decided to care for slightly older school-aged children. Since then, we have shared our home with three teenagers and all of them have fitted so well in to our little family.
We had our first foster placement, a 12-year-old boy, when Hattie was only five-months-old. He stayed for two months before finding his forever family. Due to his health problems, it was sometimes challenging, but we also found it very rewarding. His former foster carer struggled with his growing need for independence and would not let him pursue some of his passions such as boxing, due to their concern about the impact on his health, but we put in controls that allowed him to grow a bit more. He was truly grateful for that. He developed a lovely relationship with us, particularly with Rich. Since he’s moved on we keep in touch via phone and texts and we recently took him for a fun day out on his birthday.
Soon after, we cared for a 17 year-old-girl who was trafficked into the UK. She was a lovely girl, but she was scared, and she didn’t speak a word of English. However, gradually she was able to communicate with us using translation apps and we even managed to teach her some basic English. We also got agreement from her social worker for her to speak to her birth family via Skype. That was a very rewarding experience, her family learnt a bit of English just to be able to thank us for taking care of their daughter. We were truly sad to see her go after two months, but it was a positive outcome as she returned to her birth family and we remain in touch with her via social media.
For the past six months, we have been caring for a 16-year-old girl who has settled into our family perfectly. She loves Hattie and Hattie loves her. We all had a lovely holiday in Menorca this summer together with both sets of our parents who treat our foster placement just like their own grandchild. This is currently a short-term placement, but we are really hoping she can stay with us long term.
When we first started considering fostering, we were shocked by the level of prejudice we came across. We heard a lot of negatives and horror stories about naughty children. It is sad that people only seem to remember the bad things they’ve heard about foster children. I would ask anyone who is thinking about fostering not to be put off and to get to know these children for themselves. We can honestly say that all our young people have been absolutely amazing and loveable, and they got into the care system through no fault of their own. So if you can help out, then get in touch with TACT. We can’t believe how much support TACT has given us, they are like a big family which is always there whenever we need them.