My husband Rob and I started to consider fostering once our youngest daughter turned 18. We thought caring for children comes naturally for us and we felt we had done a good job with our three girls. We also have a lovely home, an amazing family and all together a lot to offer.
We looked at different agencies and chose TACT (The Adolescent and Children’s Trust) because we liked the fact they’re a charity.
The application process took nine months, less than we expected. It was intense, but we understood the reasons for that. We were approved as foster carers in May 2011. Two weeks later we received a phone call about an emergency placement – two little brothers aged two and five. It was quite a shock, but we decided to go ahead, and rushed home from work so we can greet the boys. We were very nervous but within hours it just felt right. What was supposed to be an emergency placement lasted two and a half years. The boys were brilliant. We really felt like we had made positive changes for them and they did the same for us. When they moved on to a different placement we found the separation very difficult at first, but we still keep in touch and we know they are doing really well.
Since then, we have fostered nine other children including two sibling groups. My husband Rob is the youngest of 13 children and I am the youngest of 5, and we both believe that while growing up our siblings were just as important to us as our parents, so we understand the need for siblings in care to stay together. We are currently fostering a girl aged 11 and her 13 year-old twin brothers. When they came to us four months ago the boys wouldn’t say a word. Instead, their much more confident sister would speak on their behalf. Having the support of each other helped them settle in with us quickly. The boys are still quite shy, but they are much more social and we love to see them laughing and playing together. We often have fun days out and we encourage them to be active. As a result, the boys recently got into fitness and the girl is really into street dancing. We also encouraged our foster daughter to apply for the Blue Peter badge. Her stories were so good that a video clip was shown on the programme. We were all so delighted.
To us, fostering is a way of life rather than a job. We have so many precious memories with all our foster children, such as the first goal our foster son scored when he played football for a local team, teaching two foster children to ride a bike while away on a caravan holiday and many more.
Of course, fostering can be demanding at times, we are human after all, and we do get frustrated sometimes. However, TACT is always there to offer guidance, even in the middle of the night on bank holiday. And no matter the challenges that come with fostering, the rewards far outweigh them.