Martin and James – TACT foster carers since 2018
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 LGBTQ+ couple would be a barrier to us fostering. However, our fears were soon allayed by speaking to TACT. They assured us that being a LGBTQ+ 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.
In 2018 we began caring for a 13-year-old boy who remains with us today. We were really excited, as well as nervous. We tried to prepare as much as we could by getting in food, sweets, teddy bears and a welcome box to try to make them less nervous and more comfortable in our home. We spent the first evening just getting to know each other, we let him pick his favourite dinner and made it together. We then watched his favourite movie together.
We had a great connection straight away, even though he had difficulties trusting people at first. Helping him to break down those barriers and build up a level of trust has been our greatest success. Because of attachment issues, he would sometimes push away when he felt he was letting his guard down. It was so hard to see him isolate himself and go back to square one. Nevertheless, we felt that we were slowly but surely having a positive influence on his life.
It’s been amazing to see someone grow and develop life skills, while we built routines for him which has helped him to feel safe and secure with us. Our boy needs stability to thrive due to his autism, and we have taken care to ensure that we are a source of reliability and stability, which has helped us build trust over time.
He has made incredible progress in the time he has been with us. There have been so many positive changes throughout the years, and he is in a much better place both physically and mentally. He is now doing great in school, whereas he previously struggled with his education. We are now looking forward to him finishing school, going to college and discussing volunteering and his first job. None of this would have been possible when he first arrived. He is now approaching 18 and we are beginning discussions for continued care, we have told him we will always be there for him.
TACT have been amazing to us over the years. There is always a member of staff on the other end of the phone to provide support anytime it’s needed, and our social workers have been brilliant. We have absolutely loved our journey fostering with TACT and feel so proud to be a part of the TACT family. As well as staff, we have also received amazing support from other foster carers, as well as our friends and family.
To any other LGBTQ+ couple who has thought about fostering – go for it! Never let being part of the LGBTQ+ 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. Deciding to foster has been the best decision we have ever made and we will continue to do this for a very long time. We feel so lucky to be part of this young person’s life and to see all of the positive changes.
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