Hannah – TACT Foster Carer since 2017
Fostering is something that my husband and I have always wanted to do. I’ve always been inspired by fostering stories that I’ve read. We had some friends who already fostered with TACT and recommended them to us. We liked the fact that they were a charity, with the focus being on the children.
We began our fostering journey with some respite care for a boy with a specific medical need which involved us organising lots of medication for him. It was great to start with respite as it gave us a chance to see what fostering was like but just for short periods of time.
After a few months, we had young boy come to stay with us who has now been with us for 3 years and will stay permanently. He settled into our family very well and although we had to work through a few issues with him in the first year or so he was with us, he is doing extremely well now. When he moved in with us, he was quite young for his age and having two younger siblings allowed him to join in with play that he still needed to do but also gave him a bit of responsibility as the older brother. This worked really well for him and it is very rewarding to look back and to see how much progress he has made in the last 3 years. Our favourite part about fostering is seeing our foster son becoming part of our family and interacting with our own children, who view him as an older brother and both enjoy spending time with him.
Balancing the needs of our 3 children who are all very different can sometimes be a challenge. At the beginning, our foster son could be quite argumentative which I found difficult sometimes, but this did settle down over time. I think that looking after different children helps us to become better parents and foster carers. Each child that we look after presents different challenges and therefore we learn from each situation. I think that we have helped our foster son to feel settled and included after several changes in carer. He has learnt a lot of life skills while being with us and has lots of opportunities for his future.
Our children love having a big brother around and so far, fostering has only been a positive thing for them. They were very young when we decided to become foster carers and so we had to make the decision for them. I was worried about children coming and going and the difficulties that would cause for them and so I am glad that our foster son will be with us permanently. I think it has opened my daughter’s eyes to the fact that not all children are lucky enough to have a loving family that look after them well.
However, our daughter is old enough now to understand more and is still keen for us to have children to stay even though I have explained some of the difficulties there might be and the fact that they might have to leave. I think it makes children appreciate their family and helps to make them more understanding of other children and their situations.
We also did a week’s emergency respite for another boy last year which was enjoyable for us all. So, we are now looking to do some more respite or possibly consider caring for a second child, which our daughter is keen for us to do.
Some advice I would give to people who are thinking about becoming foster carers would be that it is a very rewarding and fulfilling thing to do but it needs to be considered carefully as it is a big commitment. The support from TACT is excellent. There is very regular and varied training offered and our social worker has listened to us about specific training that we would like and organised this for us. We have a very good relationship with our social worker and always feel completely supported by her. She always makes sure that our whole family feels included, listened to, and supported.
My birth children’s views are always considered at our annual reviews and our social worker always takes time to check how they are. They have been offered many activities with TACT and are always included in anything offered to our foster son too. I am hugely impressed with how inclusive TACT are of birth children in all activities and events.