Hi, I’m Tia.
I’ve been an Alliance foster carer since January 2014.
I knew it was my calling in life, having come from a fostering family myself, then later becoming a fostering support for my parents at the age of 18.
It’s been almost five years since I joined the agency and the Alliance team has become my extended family.
They’ve always put my wellbeing first and given me all the support I need, throughout all of my placements.
Currently I’m caring for two boys alongside my own two sons, which can at times be difficult but immensely rewarding.
Empowered and confident
Last year I enrolled on the ‘Fostering Changes’ course, to learn coping strategies or solutions to some of the challenges we were facing as a foster family.
But I actually found the practical skills I acquired had wider reaching benefits that helped in several areas of our lives.
I now feel empowered to deal with situations that had previously often left me feeling lost and have also refreshed my knowledge of skills I already had.
After attending Fostering Changes, my confidence has soared and helped me care for both the foster children and my birth children better.
All this means we live in a happy, harmonious home.
It’s not all been plain sailing but I’m better equipped for any setbacks — and a year on, we still have some of the objectives from the course on display at home.
We follow these but also update and change them as needed to reflect the children’s emotional and physical progress.
I’m happy that I’ve made lasting relationships with other carers that I met on the course, who face similar challenges and concerns to me.
These have become strong friendships — as a group we communicate every day, sharing problems and celebrating our individual or group achievements.
And later this year we’re getting together for some well-deserved rest, recuperation and a little indulgence on a spa break.
The Fostering Changes course has been immensely valuable for me but the individual rewards can depend on what you’re looking to achieve.
Keep an open mind and you’ll learn new skills and information that’ll enhance your parenting style, benefitting any looked-after and birth children in your home.
But for me, the most important thing has been the solidarity and friendship I’ve found in my new ‘family’ of course attendees.
I’d encourage any carer to sign up for Fostering Changes — if you’re like me, the outcomes could be life changing.