"When you foster siblings, you're keeping children together": Terry and Gina's story
Terry and Gina are one of few fostering families who have the space to keep children together. They talk to us about the highlights and challenges they’ve faced fostering siblings
It was Terry who first wanted to foster. After experiencing a difficult childhood, Terry committed his life to supporting children. After meeting Gina and starting a family of their own, the couple approached Action for Children.
“We were recommended by our local authority to contact Action for Children. We’re pleased that we did because the support we’ve had is second to none. We’ve had 14 children stay with us, which have been mostly teenagers. We now have two siblings living with us and it’s like they’ve always been here.”
We now have two siblings living with us and it's like they've always been here.
Gina and Terry’s son Taylor was three when the family started to foster. The couple had the room and time for more, but they’d hoped fostering would have a positive impact on their son too.
“Our son Taylor, who is now 16 and lives with us, loves us fostering and wants to do it when he is older. He loves the girls, and they get on like normal brothers and sisters.”
“It’s a privilege to be looking after the siblings that we have now. Their personalities are completely different. One is introverted and academic, the other is an extrovert and an entertainer. We love them both equally.”
At first, the couple fostered the oldest sibling. They stayed connected with the birth parents and their newborn baby. Three years later, Gina and Terry took in the second sibling. This was the first time the siblings were able to live together.
“Gina had a rapport with the children’s mother. We understood how mum would be feeling, we felt empathy for her situation. The children still have contact now, and if there’s anything special happening we send her photos.”
Fostering siblings can come with its challenges, Terry explains.
“When they did come together there were issues such as jealousy. Which is completely understandable. One of the siblings was getting a lot of attention and struggled to share us. We had to work through that and make sure she felt as special as her sister.”
If you can foster siblings – you’re keeping children together. When they grow up and realise they were kept together because of you, it’ll mean so much.
“Their sibling relationship has blossomed, so for us, every day has been a highlight. Those early difficulties at the beginning have gone. One of our children is learning to play the piano, she’s doing so well. Watching them play together and enjoying each other’s company is lovely.”
Terry has an important message for anyone thinking of fostering siblings:,
“If you can foster siblings – you’re keeping children together. When they grow up and realise they were kept together because of you, it’ll mean so much.”
In the UK over 12,000 children in foster care are living away from their brother or sister. There is a crucial need for foster carers who have space to keep siblings together.
Request your information pack or call us on 0845 200 5162