Thomas and Jane – TACT Foster Carers since 2010
Around nine years ago after being made redundant I was looking for a change of direction, and was thinking about opening a bed and breakfast as we had two spare rooms after our son and daughter left home to live with their respective partners. However, my plans changed when I came across a fostering advert in a local paper. My wife Jane was just as intrigued as I was about the idea of fostering so we researched several agencies. When I called TACT, the enthusiasm of the lady on the phone completely sold it to me. That’s how we started fostering with TACT.
The application process took seven months. It was thorough, but I could understand why. I was very excited when we were told we are about to have our first placement – a teenage boy. To be honest, it was quite challenging at first as he didn’t want to be in care, he wanted to be with his family. However, we received first-class support from TACT and managed to provide a caring home for this lad for two and a half years before he returned to his father.
After a few enjoyable respite placements, things went quiet for two months. Then right out of the blue we received a phone call about two brothers aged three and 10. We asked a social worker when can we expect them and the answer was tonight! It was classified as an emergency placement as the lads were in danger due to chronic neglect. It was Sunday night, and the whole family was in the house for Sunday dinner. A social worker knocked on our door and these two boys walked in hand in hand. We didn’t know anything about them, but I am so glad we decided to welcome them in to our lives.
Right from the beginning, the boys were really lovely. However, we began to notice some learning difficulties. After speaking to their social worker, we visited a genetic services centre in Glasgow where doctors discovered that the boys have a very rare genetic disorder associated with development delay. We were sad to learn this, but with a diagnosis we could help them better, and now they both have one to one tutoring, lots of educational support and a foreseeable future ahead of them.
The fact that the brothers can stay together in one home benefits them greatly. Of course, they have their little moments when they need their own space, but they are always ready to help each other out. It has been very noticeable how attentive the older one is towards his little brother, who really looks up to his older brother, which is so nice to see. You really can’t separate these boys.
Caring for our boys has been extremely rewarding. It has been a pleasure to see them grow and to be able to help them as much as we can. In December they will have been with us for six years and they really are a part of the family. They also have a lovely relationship with our birth children who are very supportive. Four years ago, our son and daughter in law became TACT foster carers themselves and began fostering in just their 20s.
Fostering can be challenging and one has to remember it’s not a failure to ask for help. However, these kids are worth looking after, and if you are a loving and caring person and your circumstances are right, go for it.