Tina Turns To Foster Care
When her own children grew up and flew the nest, Beddau’s Tina Edwards found she was able to continue caring and nurturing young people – by realising a lifelong ambition to be a foster carer.
She has become one of a growing number of residents who are turning to foster care, providing safe, stable and happy homes for some of Rhondda Cynon Taf’s most vulnerable children and young people, when their own offspring have grown up and moved out.
Now, nearly 20 years since her home was last filled with the sound of a child’s giggles and little feet running on the floorboards, Tina once again finds herself devoted to the care of a child – and she is loving every minute of it!
Four weeks ago, Tina and her husband, Kevin, welcomed a little girl into their home. She is their fifth foster child since being approved as carers at the beginning of the year.
The first four children to be helped by Tina were for short periods of time, as emergency care or offering respite to other foster carers. The little girl will stay with them for an unknown period of time.
Tina has always wanted to be a foster carer, but felt she wanted to focus on her own children’s upbringing and then dedicate herself completely to foster children once her own offspring had grown up.
After applying to Rhondda Cynon Taf Council to become foster carers, Tina and Kevin underwent an assessment period, accompanied by a dedicated support social worker, which took around six months.
During this time checks and assessments took place to ensure foster care was right for Tina and Kevin and to decide what kind of fostering would suit them best.
As Tina plays “hairdresser” with the little girl and her doll, choosing pink and purple hairclips and styling ponytails, she explains how her home felt empty without children and she wants to do something worthwhile to help the children in her care, no matter how long they are with her.
She said: “A lot of people who found out I had become a foster carer after my own children had grown up and left home thought I was mad and wondered why I wasn’t now enjoying all this spare time and “me” time I now had.
“For me I wanted to do something worthwhile and the fact I am doing what I can to help the children in my care is very important to me.
“My house felt empty without the children and I love being able to help, to invest my time for however long I have them to give them the best possible start, helping them to build confidence, enjoy a routine and simple things like school, homework and being in a family environment.
“It was the best decision we made. It was always my dream and Kevin has supported me in it.”