Karen and Greg’s Story

Archived: Posted February 16, 2017

Karen (44) and Greg (47) Tisch from Carmarthen, Wales have been foster carers with Foster Care Associates (FCA) for nearly four years.  The couple have managed to combine running a successful equestrian business whilst being committed to caring for children and young people. Talking about why they started fostering the in the first place Karen said: ‘’ Greg and I always wanted to be foster carers. We always felt we had more to give as parents. It was something we considered for a long time but waited until we felt that our birth children were old enough to understand and were able to be involved in the process too.

‘’Before we made any final decisions we chatted to our friends and family about fostering and they were very supportive. Some of our friends already fostered, so they were able to offer us lots of advice and answer any initial questions we had. Everybody was really positive and said that they would be happy to help out in any way that they could.

‘’We initially contacted the local authority, but they were very slow at getting back to us. Not wanting to wait, we decided to look into independent agencies and contacted FCA instead. We had some friends that fostered with FCA and rated the agency very highly, recommending them to us. We phoned up for a chat and almost straight away our fostering journey began.’’

Over the years Greg and Karen have cared for a number of young people from different backgrounds and under different circumstances. Karen explains: ‘’ We have had some experience looking after children on emergency placements and in some cases these have turned into longer term care, Greg and I have also done some respite work with FCA and now we are looking after a lovely sibling group that will be with us long term.

Fitting fostering with everyday lives

‘’Although we are both full time carers, Greg and I have been really lucky to be able to pursue our passion for fostering alongside running our 18 year equestrian business from home. We run horse show jumping sessions, dressage and training at our stables.

We’ve found that our business is something really exciting that all of the children can be involved with, they love the horses.’’

The couple describe some of the reactions they receive when telling people that they are foster carers. Karen said: ‘’ We tend not to make a point of separating the fact that some of our children are fostered however if we ever chat to people about fostering they are often surprised. Most people just think that they are our own children as we make them 100 percent a part of our family. People often really admire and respect what Greg and I do, saying that they wouldn’t be able to do it themselves.

‘’There are some challenges that come with being a foster carer. It can have an impact on your family, for example difficult behaviour with new placements can be very upsetting for our own children at times. Fostering is very time consuming, with meetings, appointments and running children around, it comes with the nature of the job.

‘’ We always try to keep a good sense of humour and try not to take things too personally. I feel it’s important to talk to other foster carers if you’re struggling and never be afraid to ask for help and advice.

‘’Greg and I are always very aware of keeping a good balance and making sure that our birth children don’t feel like they’ve miss out on anything and are comfortable too. If we ever do need any support or time to ourselves FCA are always willing to help.

The support we receive

‘‘FCA offer fantastic support. They have provided support workers to help look after challenging placements for a few hours so that Greg and I could have a bit of time out to recharge and if ever there is a problem our social worker always offers sound advice and support. We have the option to arrange meetings together so that things can be discussed and sorted out if need be.

‘’If you’re thinking about fostering  you should go for it, but before making any decisions talk to as many foster carers as you can as they can help give direct insight into what it’s like. Make sure that you have a good support network of friends and family around you and if you have birth children make sure that they are involved right from the beginning.

‘’Fostering has its ups and downs, but the good times outweigh the bad. We have had the pleasure of meeting lots of new people and have made some great friends on our fostering journey. Through fostering we have learnt to be better parents, it has taught us to work better together and support each other as a family.’’

The couple conclude with some of their best fostering moments. Karen said: ‘’ It’s the best feeling in the world when a new child in your care first refers to your house as their home.

This comment, although small has made Greg and I really happy over the years. Simple things like going on a family holiday, sharing experiences and making new memories together is something that means a lot to these children. It’s these moments that stand out to us the most.

How can we help?

Ready to start fostering a child or young person? Or just want a bit more information to help you decide whether fostering is for you? All you need to do is contact us.

Phone us

Call us on 0800 023 4561 (lines open Monday - Thurs: 9am - 7pm, Fri: 9am - 6pm)

Fostering a child or young person is a big decision so we're here to answer any questions you may have. Our friendly fostering advisors, many of whom are carers themselves, can talk you through everything you need to know about becoming a foster carer.

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Phone us

Call us on 0800 023 4561 (lines open Monday - Thurs: 9am - 7pm, Fri: 9am - 6pm)

Fostering a child or young person is a big decision so we,re here to answer any questions you may have. Our friendly fostering advisors, many of whom are carers themselves, can talk you through everything you need to know about becoming a foster carer.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Call me back

Haven't got time to chat now? Leave your details and we'll call you back at a time that suits you:

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
  • Why do we need this? So we can email you a brochure.
  • Why do we need this? We appreciate that starting to foster is a big decision that needs careful consideration and you are likely to have questions. We’d like to help answer those questions.
  • Please enter your postcode to see news and events in you area
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

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