Graham and Michael – TACT Foster Carers since 2015
After bringing up two daughters and seeing them grow up, become independent and have children of their own, myself and Michael were really keen to help children who were less fortunate, and felt we were in a place where we could offer a good start in life and guidance to children who’d had a difficult time so far in their short lives.
TACT’s East Midlands office was based locally to us and they had a great reputation; we’d heard positive things about the support, training and guidance they provide. However, before getting in contact with TACT, Michael and I had some anxieties. Being an LGBT couple, we were worried that there would still be stigma attached to that and therefore whether we would be accepted to foster children. Despite our worries, TACT were amazing and quickly assured us that being gay would have absolutely no bearing on our ability to foster. We have never been treated differently to anyone else by TACT, for which we are extremely grateful.
The assessment process was long and difficult at times, but you realise that is necessary in order to find the best people with the best skills to become foster carers. Thankfully we’ve always had good support available to us from TACT, our family and our friends who have all helped us from our very first steps on this journey. Training has always been interesting too – I go to the face-to-face sessions, which can sometimes be challenging for me due to my dyslexia, but are always informative. Michael works full-time, but has also been able to complete a lot of the training due to the online sessions offered by TACT.
We’ve only had one placement since becoming approved foster carers – two brothers have now been with us for around 2 and a half years in a placement which has become permanent, meaning they will stay with us until they move on to independence. As I’d only experienced bringing up girls, this brought some new challenges that I hadn’t been used to before, but the experience has been such a rewarding one. They have become a part of our family and it’s so rewarding to see them happy and flourishing with their social abilities and at school. It seems like they’ve been here a lot longer than they have! Watching both of them achieve things in everything they do and fulfilling their potential absolutely fills us with pride. There have been some challenging behaviours to deal with at times; mood swings as both the boys approach their teenage years aren’t uncommon. However, we hope we’re giving them the love, friendship and support that they need to go forward in life.
Fostering has undoubtedly been challenging at times, but at the same time so rewarding. We’ve gained lots of knowledge and experience the longer we’ve been foster carers, which has not only made us better foster carers but also made us stronger as a couple. The boys are now very much at the centre of our lives and we wouldn’t change it for the world. Any other LGBT couples who are nervous about fostering like we were – don’t be! We’ve always had it made clear to us that being gay is not a barrier to being foster carers at all. If you want to become a foster carer, and can offer the necessary love and support, go for it – you will never be treated any differently by TACT.