Martin and James – TACT Foster Carers since 2017
After playing a significant role in the upbringing of our nieces and nephews and always having a great relationship with them, we were motivated to become foster carers. Although we aren’t able to have children of our own, we have always felt we could provide someone with a healthy, stable home full of love, support and kindness. Finding the right agency was really important to us, so we carried out plenty of research about what each agency could offer us. TACT really stood out to us because of the level of support and training they offered – from our first phone call and speaking to a member of staff at TACT, we felt that we’d made the right choice.
Before starting the application and assessment process, James and I did have some anxieties over whether being a LGBT couple would be a barrier to us fostering. However, our fears were soon allayed by speaking to TACT. They assured us that being a LGBT couple would never be a barrier or affect our ability to foster – as long as we could offer the necessary love and support to a child TACT were happy for us to go ahead.
Since being approved as foster carers last summer, we have had one placement. It’s been amazing to see someone grow and develop life skills, while we built routines for him which helped him to feel safe and secure while in the placement. One of our biggest achievements was watching someone who had previously struggled at school become more settled and get really involved in the school show. Seeing him perform in the show was a really proud moment for us; we were thrilled to watch him coming out of his shell more and watching his personality blossom.
The child who was fostered by us had previously had lots of difficulties trusting people, so helping him to break down barriers and build up a level of trust with us was one of our greatest successes in fostering so far. The difficulties surrounding trust were however also some of our biggest challenges during placement. The child we cared for had some issues surrounding attachment, meaning that he would sometimes push us away when he felt he was letting his guard down. Although we tried to have as positive an influence on him as possible, it was difficult sometimes to see this young man try to isolate himself and go back to square one. Nevertheless, we felt that we were slowly but surely having a positive influence on his life. As much as we were teaching someone life skills, we were learning from him as well and becoming better foster carers.
TACT have been amazing to us, both during the assessment process and since having our first placement. There is always a member of staff on the other end of the phone to provide support anytime it’s needed, and we’ve been fortunate to have built a great relationship with our supervising social worker Suzanne. The training provided throughout the year has helped to build our confidence and experience, while always being enjoyable, informative and completely honest about the ups and downs of fostering. The friendly, supportive, caring atmosphere at all training events has been hugely helpful to new carers like ourselves, allowing us to meet other foster carers who we can share experiences with and help support each other.
We’ve really enjoyed the whole fostering journey so far, all the way back from our assessment before we were approved. Although sometimes the assessment might feel intrusive and very personal, you understand it’s necessary in order to protect the vulnerable children who require foster care. Even in the relatively short time we’ve been fostering so far, we’ve learned so much about ourselves and the support we’ve received from our friends, family and those at TACT has been invaluable in this.
To any other LGBT couple who has thought about fostering – go for it! Never let being part of the LGBT community hold you back from doing anything. We’ve always been treated equally and as part of the family by TACT, which has led to some incredibly rewarding and proud moments for us as foster carers.