Carol – TACT Foster Carer since 2010
Eleven years ago, we decided to enquire about fostering. It was something we had always wanted to do as a couple and now was the right time for us. Our three daughters were grown up and our eldest had left home, leaving us with two empty bedrooms.
We started our journey by speaking with a social worker in March 2010. We attended Panel on a very wintery, snowy day in December 2010, feeling nervous and excited. We passed and I can’t even put into words how we felt. After years of dreaming about fostering… we had done it!
Two months later our first placement arrived – a boy aged 9. We had never had a boy before, so it was a whole new experience for us as well as a foster brother for our daughters. To say we made a fuss of him is an understatement. My daughters spoiled him by taking him on days out and he joined our clothes shopping days, fitting into our family immediately.
Our foster son had a special bond with my grandson Harley – they got on so well and brought the best out in each other. When he left to go and live with family, although we were happy for him, it was also emotional as he had been with us for 18 months – but we have kept in touch!
My grandson Harley, who is now 11, has been with us throughout our entire fostering journey and has always had a close relationship with all the children we have cared for. My other grandson, Jaylan who is 8, has also been brilliant and helped all the young people feel part of the family.
I think us having 6 grandchildren and 3 daughters helps when children come into our family as they are made so welcome, they are always treated as another member of the family and it’s so lovely to see how caring and understanding they all are and how well they get on.
Both Harley and Jaylan had a good understanding of why children are fostered. They are aware that they have been through both sad and traumatic times and how hard it is for them to not live at home. When our current foster son came to be with us, he really struggled with his speech and both boys were amazing with him. They were so patient and understanding and always there for him if he was feeling upset.
They both play a big role in the lives of our foster children. Until Harley recently moved to secondary school, they all attended the same school. My husband, Pete, picks them all up and they often come over for tea. All the kids love playing together here! We are lucky enough to have a good-sized garden with a 12-foot trampoline, slide, sandpit, football net, basketball net as well as an indoor playroom. Our grandchildren never want to leave when they come over, as fostering means there is always someone they can play with.
We are so lucky that our entire family has gotten on board with fostering, including our daughters and all of our grandchildren. Having this kind of support from your family just provides an amazing network for ourselves and our foster children. When we have everyone at our house it’s chaotic, noisy and happy and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Carol’s grandsons kindly made these two short videos about how they interact with fostered children: