In collaboration with the Ministry of Social and Family Development, and in support of the Foster Care Week, BYKidO will be sharing a series of stories from real-life foster parents to share their stories and their experiences on the fostering journey.
EVERY CHILD DESERVES A HOME FILLED WITH FAMILY WARMTH AND LOVE
“Every child is entitled to a home filled with family warmth and love to seek refuge in”, insists Madam Fiona Cheong Wei Harn, 46. Some four years ago, this firm belief led her to embark on a meaningful journey of foster care.
Madam Cheong, who is married to channel sales manager Mr Donovan Wu Wei Ming, 48, is a mother of three teenage daughters aged 13, 15 and 17. In June 2014, she took the bold decision to welcome Andrea* (*not her real name), then only 2.5 months old, under her care. Although the couple already had three daughters, they decided to open their home and hearts to care for Andrea, who was abandoned by her natural grandparents.
While her fostering journey has been exciting and rewarding, there were initial challenges that came along with it. As with all newborns, night feeding and changing of diapers were a few of the challenges Madam Cheong faced as Andrea used to wake up every few hours. This was something that Madam Cheong hadn’t experienced in a while, as all her daughters had grown up.
“From Day One, my family has been incredibly supportive of our decision to foster Andrea,” shares jolly Madam Cheong.
The Wu family always ensures that Andrea knows she is loved by all members of the household – from verbal affirmations to engaging her in all family activities – as they see her as both a daughter and a sister. While Andrea comes across as shy and reserved, she is comfortable in the presence of her immediate foster family, thanks to the abundance of love showered upon her by the Wus.
Over time, Andrea has developed such a close bond with the Wu Family that Madam Cheong often feels that Andrea is one of her own children. This gives Madam Cheong a sense of achievement. “We must have done something right in nurturing Andrea,” she adds.
Aside from immediate family members and relatives, Madam Cheong is particularly grateful for the social worker assigned to her case. The social worker’s regular visits to the family home have also helped in establishing a close rapport with Andrea, a rare bond to be cherished given Andrea’s reservations towards non-family members.
Here are some useful tips from Madam Cheong for those who may be interested to take the step forward to become foster parents:
- Fostering may be a huge commitment as it requires the support of the entire family unit. However, if you are emotionally and physically prepared, fostering will be a rewarding and fulfilling experience.
- You are encouraged to love your foster child unconditionally just like you would for your biological children
- Do engage your foster child in all family activities to help them integrate well with their foster family
- Understand that fostering is a temporary arrangement and that the goal is to reintegrate the foster child with their natural family as this is in the child’s best interest.
Photo Credits: MSF Fostering Service
MSF Fostering Service
To find out more about the MSF Fostering Service, call 6354 8799, WhatsApp 9645 8231, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the MSF Fostering website, www.msf.gov.sg/fostering.
Foster Care Week
Foster Care Week (FCW) is a week-long celebration of fostering to raise awareness on fostering and encourage families to be part of the fostering movement in Singapore. From 17 to 25 November 2018, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and its four Fostering Agencies will be organising roadshows and setting up outreach booths at 10 locations island-
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