My husband and I had always thought about fostering and my sister-in-law told us about an event where they were raising awareness around the critical shortage of carers for Muslim children. We went along and the next day I called the agency and started the process. That’s when our journey began.
Sometimes when there are problems in the home, in the Muslim community, there is a tendency not to want to talk about it and leave it behind closed doors. That’s where we come in. If we care for the children, the biological mum and dad feel better and are more likely to look for options. Even though it’s an ugly situation, knowing their kids are with Muslim carers helps and it means the kids can maintain their sense of identity, culture and tradition.
Since we started, we have provided care for fifteen children. There have been some truly amazing moments, like last year when we adopted our son who turns five next month. It was one of the best days of our lives. Knowing that he now has a permanent, stable and loving home, is the best feeling. There are other times like when the children have returned to their biological family and the family has worked really hard to sort their lives out and offer the kids an amazing life, that feels really positive.
Whenever anyone asks me about becoming a carer, I say definitely do it. Make sure you have a support system; you need to be really patient and know that some days are going to be difficult, but some days are going to be amazing. We once had a brother and sister come into our care that wouldn’t talk. They communicated with each other but rarely to us and in Arabic only. They were really scared and withdrawn but after about two weeks with us they were the loudest, happiest kids. They stayed for two months. One day the little girl came up to me and she was like, “Hi mama”. Seeing that big change in them was amazing.