Julie and Graham – TACT Foster Carers since 2011
My husband and I originally thought about fostering when our children were just 8 and 5, but decided they would be too young to cope with the change of dynamics in their lives. A few years later, we started hosting for the Chernobyl Children’s Lifeline and after the success of this, we decided to look into fostering again. 6 years ago, we found TACT and haven’t looked back since.
The training process supplied by TACT is excellent – they are friendly, efficient and always suit our needs. Online training is also available, which is particularly helpful to help fit into our schedules. The support supplied by TACT is second to none; at no point through our fostering process have we felt like we were on our own.
We have cared for big sibling groups of 4 children and we even ended up adopting one of the children. As well as this, we’ve had children from residential homes, children with particularly challenging behaviours and have also carried out respite care. Each scenario has brought its own difficulties and we’ve definitely had problems to deal with. For example, it can be extremely difficult to witness destructive and challenging behaviour or self-harm in teens. However, giving a young person the ability to change their lives by embracing learning, development and social skills gives a tremendously rewarding feeling.
Our children’s experiences of fostering have been brilliant – our son has coped very well, while our daughter now works in a residential home while studying at university and hopes to go on to be a social worker. We’re incredibly proud of both of them – it’s been great to have them in the house while caring for foster children. The foster children often look up to our kids as role models. They see the way we all talk together at every opportunity and don’t hide secrets and use it to develop their own social skills – this is something most children in care haven’t experienced in the past.
TACT have been terrific at supporting all of our family while we have been fostering. Our daughter had to attend court and had a foster child disclose sensitive information to her, which of course could have been difficult to deal with for someone who was only a young person herself. TACT however were brilliant and supplied her with the extremely good support she needed.
Adopting a child was never originally part of our plan, but it must be the greatest thing to come out of becoming a foster carer for us as it was such a significant event in our families lives! We will hopefully also be returning another child who’s currently in our care to the care of his parents by Christmas, which will also be a huge success.
In terms of the impact that fostering and then adoption had on our children, it was difficult at times with them as youngsters learning to share their parents and accepting new children into our home, but overall they have coped amazingly. We would never have adopted if it wasn’t a unanimous ‘yes’ from all of our family – we are blessed to have such loving, caring and accepting children who were willing to let someone else join our family.
If you’ve thought about becoming a foster carer I would say don’t hesitate – just do it. However, carefully consider each placement match – if you have children at home already there are certainly various factors to consider. Overall though, all the things you hear about how rewarding fostering is are true. When you see that you have made a difference to a child’s life by giving them a better start, all the challenges are worth it.