TV Soap Sparks a Caring Heart
Watching TV soap ‘Home and Away’ as a 10-year-old seeing Pippa and Tom take in displaced and needy kids helped ignite South West Sydney man, Mohamed Ejje’s, heart to care for children in foster care.
However, Mohamed is a highly spiritual man and is quick to add that he’s no fan of ‘Home and Away’ now because unlike 25 years ago it is fairly loose on morality.
Mohamed begins his interview lamenting that his wife Lorraine was unable to join in because she was busy taking one of their seven daughters to an appointment with a speech therapist.
Lorraine is the love of Mohamed’s life, they married when she was just 19 years old and he 20.
The couple, who are strongly committed to their Muslim faith, have been together for 17 years and during that time have had six biological girls and three years ago gave a permanent home to their five-year-old foster daughter.
Mohamed says the family started their journey as carers after a friend sent them a call out for a Muslim family to take three siblings in care and who were about to go to a non-Muslim family.
At first they found they were unable to apply because of a rule about not having a child of their own under the age of two. But they later went on to become authorised carers in June 2016 after the rules changed a few years later.
Since then Mohamed says the couple have had so many short-term placements and respite placements there are too many children to count. He said they opened their home to children from all backgrounds, Indian, Lebanese, Filipino and Anglo Australian – Muslim and non-Muslim.
But when a little girl came to them for a four-week placement, with nothing but the clothes on her back and shoes that didn’t even fit, she captured the hearts of the whole family and didn’t leave.
She was two when she came into care and had a significant speech delay, potentially due to having experienced trauma.
But since being with the Ejjes she has flourished.
“She’s a special child in our house, all of us love her and her cheeky personality,” says Mohamed.
He offers some words of encouragement to other carers about their fostering journey.
“Don’t give up and give them the benefit of the doubt,” he says.
He says he would be so proud and delighted if any of his daughters grew up and said they wanted to become carers.
“I would fully support it if they said they wanted to be carers just like mum and dad,” he says.