Tina’s Story

Archived: Posted August 2, 2016

“I have cherished all of my fostering experiences over the years”

Tina Durrell from Felixstowe, Suffolk have been fostering with Foster Care Associates (FCA) for nine years. In this time Tina and her husband have cared for a wide range of foster placements including both short and long term, respite, sanctuary seeking, sibling groups and parent and child placements. Tina describes her fostering experience so far as extremely enlightening and rewarding.

“I was first inspired to become a foster carerTinaDurrell-Felixstowe when I lived in the Philippines in 1992. I became involved in volunteering at a local Orphanage in Manila and the poverty that I witnessed there was heart-breaking. When an opportunity presented itself to temporarily foster a new born baby from the orphanage, I didn’t hesitate.  I found the experience incredibly rewarding and when I eventually left the Philippines, I knew that in the future I wanted to foster again.”

“A few years later I returned to the UK and when my own children were teenagers, we felt that the time was right to foster.  We researched the local agencies and FCA appealed to us due to their feeling of ‘family’.  Members of our own family were also fostering for FCA at the time and I received a lot of positive feedback from them.”

After resigning from her job to become a full time foster carer Tina, with her husband, were soon approved for three placements and haven’t looked back since. When describing the reactions from people close to them Tina said:   “We discussed it fully with our birth children, parents and close friends and everyone was incredibly supportive of what we wanted to do. Our birth children were looking forward to having other young people come to live with us but were slightly anxious as well as to how it would impact on their own lives.   However, as soon as our first placements arrived, they were fully supportive and welcoming to the new young people living with us.”

Tina also reflected on the range of different fostering placements they have had over the past nine years.  She said:  ‘’Initially we fostered several sibling groups as keeping siblings together wherever possible is something that we feel very strongly about. As we became more experienced, we developed an interest in parent and child placements and have completed four over the past four years. We have also offered respite placements for other carers and have fostered sanctuary seeking children on a short term basis too.

“We are currently fostering twins on a long term basis as well as another young man from our local area with some complex medical needs.”

Tina found it impossible to pick just one favourite fostering memory after having so many special moments over the years however mentioned a few of the best.  She said:  “Some of my best fostering moments have included seeing a young man with Asperger’s Syndrome through to independence and beyond, witnessing him obtaining and maintaining a full time job, passing his driving test and obtaining his own flat.

“A spontaneous hug given to me by another young man that finds it difficult to show emotion was also a very rewarding moment for me. It’s the little things that make such a difference and the knowledge that each day is different and will bring different challenges and rewards motivates me on a daily basis.”

As an experienced foster carer Tina offers her advice to new carers and those considering fostering.  She said:  “My advice to new carers would be to be honest and open minded, to maintain a sense of humour at all times, not to take behaviours and comments personally and to be flexible – always expect the unexpected! If possible speak to an existing foster carer that can share their experiences and passion for fostering with you and then, once you are happy and feeling well informed, make that phone call to get the process rolling!”

When asked about the challenges she has faced as a foster carer as well as the support FCA has provided her with Tina said:  “Fostering can be very challenging at times but it is also the most rewarding thing that I have ever done.  I learn something new every day from my placements and I am amazed on a daily basis at the resilience that they display.

“We have received excellent support from the team at FCA over the years including therapeutic, educational, and supervising social worker support.”

Tina summed up her experience with FCA thus far as being extremely rewarding.  She said:  “I am very proud to say that I am a foster carer for FCA and I have cherished all of my experiences over the years.  My time as a carer has been so rewarding and I look forward to experiencing many more years ahead.

“I keep in touch with a lot of my previous placements, including placements that I have seen through to independence and beyond. I am very proud of their achievements and I love nothing more than having previous and present placements all together for a Sunday Roast or a Christmas Dinner.”

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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