Rita and Kevin Taylor

Southern Trust

Rita & Kevin Taylor are foster carers for Southern  HSC Trust. They share their journey below:

“Let me introduce ourselves to you.  My name is Rita Taylor, and my husband Kevin and I have been married for 25 years and have been together over 32 years. We have had 3 children together – a 30 year old daughter, and two sons aged 25 and 17 years old.

My grandmother brought me up, and had adopted my mum as a new born.  I always knew my grandmother had put herself out for me I always told her if I couldn’t repay her, that I would bring all her parental skills and love to foster children. She laughed at me, but it always stayed with me as I had truly meant it. When Kevin and I got pregnant she was our rock. She grew to love Kevin almost as a son. He too could see how bringing up me with such love and compassion could have a hugely positive impact on my life.

Kevin and I had talked about fostering for years and when the kids got a bit older we put it to them. We wondered how they would feel and they as kids jumped at the idea thinking about new friendships they would make and pillow fights at night.

Back in the real world Kevin and I were working hard. We decided I could go to college part-time. I studied Horticulture and became a lecturer and teacher. I’ve taught all kinds of people, but enjoyed working with the children, some of which had behavioural problems.  I found that when working with them on plants, flowers and soil they became much calmer in such a relaxing environment and it was then the penny had dropped for me. I could actually be doing this for real and putting it to better use. We actually grow our own fruit and vegetables. I’ve got my polytunnels all set up and running this last few years.

I ran the idea of becoming foster carers past Kevin and ‘brilliant idea’ was his reply – so we made one phone call and that started the ball rolling for us.

We became foster carers for the Southern Trust on 22nd October 2015.  We currently have three children living with us, one boy aged 15 and two younger boys aged 7 years.  We try to involve the children in as much activity at home as possible.  We bake scones, shortbread, pancakes and find that these things bring us close the kids as they lose themselves in the activity and chat away. We also involve them in planting potatoes, flowers and vegetables which gives them a sense of responsibility through having to take care of them and water regularly. There has been no big change in our home.  It might be a bit louder in the mornings and the last one to get in the shower might not enjoy it as the first, but that’s the same in any other home. A few extra potatoes in the pot of an evening never hurt anyone – us Irish mothers always put on too many spuds in the pot anyway. The love respect and enormous sense of well-being is so rewarding. The Fostering teams are always there if we feel we should ever need them and we find there are so many people we can reach out to.”

To find out more about becoming a valued HSC foster carer, call Regional Adoption and Fostering Service on 0800 0720 137 who will put you in touch with your local HSC Trust. Alternatively you can enquire online.