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.
Giving Back to Community As a Family
Upon hearing a sad story about a baby girl from her husband’s ex-colleague, Madam Salinah Binte Parsiri’s motherly instinct kicked in and she couldn’t help but feel compelled to step forward to help the child. She convinced her husband Mr Muchamed Elfian Bin Harun, 43, and together, they decided to care for the child informally for four years.
“The focus is simple: to provide the same care and concern to children placed under the foster care as if they are our own children, and to treat them as part of the family.” – Mdm Salinah
All while this was happening, Madam Salinah had been reading up about the Fostering Scheme. She later managed to talk her husband into it and they submitted their application to become foster parents with the then-Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports. Their application was approved and in October 2010, they welcomed their first foster child, a 3-month-old baby. Since then, they have opened their home to a few more children and are currently fostering four children.
The couple’s decision to become foster parents stemmed from their desire to give back to the community as a family. Madam Salinah shares, “The focus is simple: to provide the same care and concern to children placed under the foster care as if they are our own children, and to treat them as part of the family.”
Over the last eight years the couple has been fostering, they met with a few difficulties and admitted that caring for babies was initially challenging given that their only daughter was much older when they welcomed their first foster child. She was 10 when they began their fostering journey.
“We had many sleepless nights and even had to adjust our sleeping schedules to accommodate to their night needs, but it is all worth it,” recalls Madam Salinah. While it may be easier to “mould” babies, the pair has a set of simple but easy-to-follow house rules for toddlers – all while ensuring that they are creating a positive and thriving environment for their foster children.
Madam Salinah explains that adjustments were needed on both sides too – both the foster family and the foster child – and that it is the work of the foster family to show the foster children that they are welcomed. “The key point is to make them feel safe,” she adds, as they would not be familiar with the environment of the new “home”.
Madam Salinah and Mr Elfian attribute their smooth fostering journey to the support rendered by Epworth Community Services and its team of social workers. They also appreciate the relevancy of the courses curated by the Ministry for Social and Family Development in providing them with helpful tools and tips that they could apply in various situations.
For prospective foster parents, Madam Salinah says that support from the family is crucial. “As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. It is thus very important to have good family support not just for moral support, but to enable the foster child to adapt to the new home environment easily,” she remarks.
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-wide.
Photo credits MSF Fostering Service
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