“I love seeing them thrive and seeing them learn new things. You can just see them blossoming – I really love it.” Ruth, Barnardo’s foster carer, Belfast.
Ruth took her first step towards fostering by attending a local information event. As well as providing the opportunity to discover more about becoming a foster carer, she found that, as a single carer, “it was helpful to have other people who were in the same boat as me”.
Realising that by fostering she could help to transform children’s lives, Ruth decided to apply. Three years later, she’s had three short term placements, including her current foster children, and has found a “whole new way of life”.
For the past nine months, Ruth has been caring for twins who were just five months old when placed with her. Talking to us about the twins, Ruth says “I just love having them in my life, there are no words”.
Ruth tells us that “it can take a while to see children settle into your life and start to feel like they have a home”. Ruth also shares how tough it can be when you have to deal with the end of a placement; “my social worker was here for me because they know it’s a difficult thing to do. Barnardo’s social workers are very sympathetic and are tuned in with your feelings.”
Despite the challenges of being a single carer, Ruth feels that the rewards overshadow the difficulties. She describes the highlights of her journey as “the day-to-day moments where you see them developing and coming out from their tiny shells”.
Whether you’re single, or part of a couple, Ruth would encourage anyone with an interest in fostering to take the next step by making an enquiry.
“You will never know if it’s for you unless you start somewhere,” she says. “It’s very rewarding to be able to give that second chance to children who’ve not been given a break. Once you start it and you’re placed with a child, you can’t possibly stop.”
When you foster with Barnardo’s, we’ll be here for you every step of the way.