LGBT Fostering & Adoption Week: Abby and Eira's Story
"Fostering has filled our house, hearts and lives with noise, laughter and love"
TACT. The Adolescent and Children’s Trust.
The couple, who started caring last year, have taken on a sibling group – a three-year-old girl, a five-year-old boy, and an eight-year-old boy - and absolutely love it. As Abby says, having the children is like, "a tornado has hit their house" but they wouldn’t have it any other way.
Abby & Eira's Story
We have always wanted to have children in our lives, but obviously as a same-sex couple this was not going to happen "naturally". We wanted to help those children who had not had the best start in life and give them a chance to thrive – for us this was what fostering is all about.
Once we had decided to foster and began looking at agencies, we found TACT and liked the fact they were a charity and not run by profit-making venture capitalists like some other independent fostering agencies. We like what TACT stand for, and it was clear from our first contact that children and their wellbeing are placed at the centre of everything TACT do.
Both before and since our approval, we have found TACT to be excellent. We are always confident that there is someone there to help us whenever we should need it. Training as well has been very informative and we’ve enjoyed the various delivery styles – being both classroom-based and online.
After our approval, we only had to wait three weeks for our first placement. This was a sibling group of three – a three-year-old girl, a five-year-old boy, and an eight-year-old boy. They’ve been with us ever since, which is now nearing six months. Having three new faces all come into our household at once was a bit of a shock to the system at first.
Being fairly young carers ourselves we thought we would be well equipped to keep up with them, but you soon realise that no matter how much energy you have, the children will always have more – it was like a tornado had hit our house!
The first two weeks of our placement in particular were challenging – we all had to grow accustomed to new faces and a new dynamic in the house. However, the five of us soon settled into a routine and now it’s like they’ve always been here! Seeing them all make positive changes, even over a short period of time, has been so rewarding.
Earning the children’s trust has been our greatest success in fostering so far, which has led to them opening up to us and building up their confidence. As well as seeing their confidence grow, we’ve shared experiences together like holidays and birthdays, watched them all begin swimming lessons, and witnessed both the boys start to make great progress at school.
Fostering has filled our house, hearts and lives with noise, laughter and love. For the children, it has given them the stability and boundaries that they didn’t know they craved. The children have been able to experience lots of firsts in the time they’ve been with us and been able to enjoy simply being kids, in safe and caring surroundings.
From what we’ve been told, the children have never had a Christmas tree up in the house or had a stocking to wake up to on Christmas morning. We’ve told the children that Santa always leaves stockings at the end of everyone’s bed in this house and they’re now so excited to wake up and see what’s in theirs.
The five of us are all looking forward to spending our first Christmas together this year. As it has previously just been the two of us, Christmas was always fairly quiet, which this year certainly won’t be! There are more presents to wrap, more food to buy and the house will be full of much more love and life.
We’ve got a lot of plans for over the Christmas period – two of the children are practicing hard for their performances at school and nursery and we’re also off to see a pantomime with other TACT foster carers and children in the East Midlands. It’s also really positive for the children that they still have contact with both sets of grandparents – we’ve got lots of festive activities planned with them, including visiting Christmas markets and fairs.
If you are thinking about becoming a foster carer we would simply say stop thinking and start doing – you have nothing to lose. Just make sure you go into it with your eyes wide open. There are thousands of children out there that need a home and you will have something to offer!
Fostering has changed our lives in so many ways and it’s the best decision we’ve ever made. For us, we can’t wait to spend our first Christmas together as a foster family and give the children a loving, happy Christmas time that every child deserves.
TACT is the UK's largest fostering and adoption charity and are always on the lookout for foster carers and adopters. If you would like to help provide loving families for vulnerable children visit www.tactcare.org.uk. Follow them on Twitter @TACTCare.
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