How foster care changed Jamie’s life forever

Jamie was fostered through Barnardo's when he was 12 years old. Read about how ten years of love and support from foster carers has helped him become who he is today.

“My early life was very chaotic. Unfortunately, my Mum was dependent on drugs and there was alcohol abuse and domestic abuse [happening at home], and I moved home lots of different times.” 

This led to Jamie being taken into the care system when he was just 11 years old, and eventually being fostered through Barnardo’s a year later.  

When I went to Barnardo’s, the people changed my life.
A man sitting on a hotel balcony

“I got matched with a foster place, but, at the start, I found it challenging because, for the first time, I started to get to know myself and who I was.  

“I had two lovely foster carers...they were trying to put in boundaries and establish something for me, but I rebelled because I was only used to chaos. However, they taught me so many life skills; like how to clean a bathroom, how to make my bed and how to wash my clothes. This was all stuff I didn’t know how to do, and it was so nice to buy my own clothes and have clean clothes.”  

After that first foster family, Barnardo’s worked to find Jamie a new home.  

“My second placement was the one that really educated me. I spent about a year and a half with them, and I felt so well loved and welcome and part of something at that time of my life, which I never thought was possible.  

“From where I had come from, it was always about negative interactions, and I didn’t really understand what being loved was and what being cared for was. I had experienced that sense of love in my first placement, but, at that time in my life, I was rebelling, I was being somebody I didn’t want to be, and I was involved with the wrong groups and the wrong people.”  

How Danny and Jenny changed Jamie’s life

When he was around 16, Jamie moved to his third foster family, which would be the last.  

“I then moved in with Danny and Jenny, who completely changed my life."

Danny and Jenny were the two people I would call ‘Mum and Dad’ – and how far I have come in life now is down to them. 

With them, I felt that nothing was impossible and they helped me to dream that I could be anything I wanted to be. They always supported what I wanted to do and achieve. They took me on dream holidays and they bought me first season ticket for Celtic FC. I eventually left Danny and Jenny’s care when I was 22 years of age.”  

Looking back at his time in foster care, there are so many positives for Jamie: “I had three different families and three different ways of being a family, so, for me, foster care made me the man I am today. The positivity of being loved, being nurtured, being cared for and having that sense of anything being possible and having somewhere to call home.  

“Until the age of 11, I had nowhere to call home because I was in a new place every six months. But Barnardo’s managed to keep me in just three placements in nearly 12 years, which was quite remarkable. As a charity, Barnardo’s was a place to call home with the amazing people there and the support workers – some of them will be in my life for the rest of my life.” 

“Foster carers can change your life for the better and they maybe don’t realise to what extent. It’s the simple things in life that so many people maybe take for granted – that it’s nice to come into the house and it’s clean and tidy; that there’s your dinner every night; or just deciding to go to the cinema.” 

Jamie’s advice to foster carers

Having spent more than a decade in foster care, Jamie has some advice for those who might be considering fostering.  

My advice is to be realistic and don’t feel under pressure that it needs to be all roses and that it’s all about changing lives. It’s just about doing the basics, because many kids have never had that, and even that can change a young person’s life forever.

“Sometimes it might feel that the principles foster carers are trying to teach are not working at that time, but in five- or ten-years’ time, these kids will remember that, and it will be instilled in them forever.  

“As a foster carer, you are giving up a part of your life and privacy and your own home, but, in return, you are giving so, so much. And the reward to these kids is massive because they might otherwise have never known what it was like have a place to call home or what it was like to be part of a family, but being a foster carer can provide all of that. For me, I will be a part of two families for the rest of my life.”  

 Jamie points out that it’s not only the child’s life that can change from fostering: “Lives for foster carers change, too, and people can often forget that. Foster parents can gain a family forever and I would say to them to embrace it.”  

“Barnardo’s is incredible and life changing. I had one worker, called Jackie, for my whole time at Barnardo’s...If I ever have a child, Jackie will be one of the first people that I tell. When I get married, she will be invited to the wedding. She stuck with me when I was going through such a difficult time in my life.  

Looking forward to the future 

A man giving a thumbs up

Where he is now could not be better for Jamie and his partner of three years.  

“Life is great now. I have got an amazing and beautiful partner, Sarah, and I’m working away on my career. I’ve got a car and we’re looking to buy our own house next year. Life’s looking good. I’m 25, I’m young and I’m looking forward to what’s to come. I’m just living my life like everybody else.” 

One of the main focuses for Jamie has been his job as a Child and Youth Care Worker.  

“I’m career driven, full of enthusiasm and I work extremely hard – probably too hard. I am just doing the best I can, and I’m working towards qualifications in Child and Youth Care. “I am proud of what I’ve done in life. Sometimes I sit down and think: ‘Phew, you’re a wee guy from the East End of Glasgow that made it!"

It gives me a sense of joy inside when I speak about Barnardo’s and that warm feeling of love and care. At times, it was tough, but they went through the storm with me. And I think everyone would agree that it was a positive outcome from when I was 12 to where I am now at 25.
A man and boy fixing a bicycle together

Become a foster carer

For over 100 years, Barnardo’s has changed hundreds of thousands of children’s lives for the better though our fostering services. Become a foster carer and be part of our story. Complete our online form or find details about alternative contact methods to start your journey.

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Why foster with us?

When you foster with us, we are with you every step of the way. Our expert and friendly staff are on hand to provide training and 24/7 support to all our carers. We also know financial support is important, especially in the current climate. 

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Fostering process

Deciding to foster is a big decision to make. But we’re here to help you. Read answers to some of the most common questions about how you become a foster carer.