Stephen’s Story

Author: TACT Communications

My first impression of my foster carers Des and Charles was that they seemed really kind-hearted and genuine.  I was 13 when my sister and I moved in with them.  We were given time to settle into our new home before we went back to school and they spent a lot of time trying to get to know us.  I grew to trust them quite quickly, it helped that they told us that they were going to make up for the years that our lives had been difficult.

At that time I was competing in athletics and swimming competitions for which I never really had a lot of support in the past, but Des and Charles made a real big deal out of me competing, and spectated at every single competition no matter how big or small it was. That really made me feel not only better about myself, but that these people sincerely wanted the best for me and my sister.

I didn’t mind people knowing I was fostered, but when the pupils in my school found out I was in care they kind of avoided me a bit because they hadn’t been educated on what foster care is.  The only idea that they had was from the TV show called Tracy Beaker which didn’t help give the right impression and created a stigma.  Fostered children are not a bunch of misbehaved kids in a massive care unit.

In the five years I have lived with Des and Charles, I have come a long way. I used to be a big, angry and socially awkward boy with a really short fuse and didn’t really have a good view on going to school because I found it challenging.  Thanks to their support I have become a lot more confident, to the point that I am now even comfortable speaking in front of an audience.

I am currently at college doing a course on uniformed services, having just finished a course in aeronautical engineering. I want to join the police when I’m older, but I also want to keep my options open. I mainly decided to do my latest course because the Covid-19 pandemic has postponed my original plan of joining gap year volunteering programme Project Trust where I would help teach young people in disadvantaged countries.

I have also recently become an Advisor for the TACT Connect scheme which provides support for care leavers.  I am keen to help other people who have been through the care system and it gives me the opportunity to achieve another life experience.

I feel like my foster dads have changed my view on my future. If you had asked me 6-7years ago where I see myself in the future, in all honesty I would’ve said I’d be dead. Ask me now and I’ll tell you straight that I’ll be successful.  I don’t necessarily mean that I’ll be rich or the CEO of a massive company, to me I’ve learned that being successful is being happy with how you live your life, and who you are yourself.  I’d say right now I’m rather successful.