“My husband and I started our foster care journey back in 2014. We were both working full time and knew there was more to life. We went to an event raising awareness about foster care within the Muslim community. We found out about this event through our sister-in-law who had done some work with the organization.
We were quite shocked to know there were Muslim kids in foster care. We had never heard of it happening and had never met any Muslim foster families. We jumped on board and signed up right away, and it’s been a roller coaster ever since.
When we first started, our families were very excited for us and understood the importance of kids having a safe place to call their own. My husband has 17 nieces and nephews, so we were always surrounded by kids. My heart was so happy knowing we could give vulnerable kids a safe and loving home. It’s also important in our religion to help the needy and vulnerable.
It was a really easy and smooth process, and it took roughly 6 months to get approved. I was working full time, but when we got our first call for a little 2-year-old girl, I didn’t know what to think or what to do. I simply went into auto-pilot mode and started getting her room ready. I went on leave but ended up quitting as I quickly realized I needed to be home with her. She had gone through a lot of trauma and needed a lot of one on one time.
The training we attended did not prepare us for reality. Little things would trigger massive tantrums and meltdowns, and she was so scared of my husband. This little girl had been through so much, and I became a helicopter mom. I was constantly hovering around her and stressed about her wellbeing.
She thrived so much within our home and became this little sassy princess after a few months. We would sing songs together, play with Barbies, and have pretend tea parties. It was everything I could hope for, but there were also big meltdowns, tantrums, and heavy memories.
After giving her a shower, she would always have sad memories of her bio mom. It was so heartbreaking to hear what she had gone through, but as her foster mom, I had to reassure her that she was safe and everything would be okay.
She left after being with us for 8 months.
We received a call a week after she left that there was a 2-year-old boy who needed a home, so I didn’t have much time to be sad. He was a handful and the cutest little munchkin you’ve ever seen. He left our home after being with us for two years.
We’ve had 15 kids come and go throughout the years.
They have taught us to be more empathetic, more grateful, and enjoy the simple things in life.
I simply took a brother and sister pair to the McDonald’s playground once, and they kept hugging me and kissing me and telling me it was the best day ever.
All these kids have made my husband and I the people we are today.
In 2015, a precious little 8-month-old baby boy came into our home and completely stole our hearts. He was the most relaxed kid ever. I remember him in his high chair drinking his bottle with one leg up on the hand rest, just completely chilling. He had the squeakiest little voice, and he would make me laugh when he got excited. He would squeeze and shake himself like he couldn’t contain his excitement. He always played with my face and played with my husband’s beard with so much love.
We raised him like our own and circumstances with his bio family gave us the chance to apply for adoption. It was a super long process. At one time, we thought it wasn’t going to go ahead. He brought so much joy and happiness into our lives and he made our hearts so happy. We nicknamed him Mr. Dimples.
When we got the call that the adoption was going ahead, we called our case manager who cried with us!
The adoption day came and we caught a train down to the city to go to the supreme court. Our close family, friends, and our 2-year-old foster daughter and son were with us. It was so formal, and once the judge started talking, we all listened attentively. She said, ‘When I stamp this, he is legally your son,’ and I don’t remember anything else she said after that. My heart was so unbelievably happy and I couldn’t believe we were going through this moment. I had never seen my husband cry like he did then. He was a proud dad.
We didn’t change his name, as part of our religion is for the child to know his lineage. Mr. Dimples has taken everything that has been thrown at him like a champion. We call him our little scientist because he is so sensible. He talks about his adoption so freely and is so positive about it.
When someone asks him, ‘What does adoption mean,’ he says, ‘It means I stay with my mama and dad forever. My mom was sick and couldn’t look after me, so that’s why I’m with mama and dad.’
Our foster son that was with us came to us at 8 days old in 2016. We nicknamed him Baby Smiles.
He and Mr. Dimples were the best of friends and did everything together. Baby Smiles wasn’t a great sleeper, so I spent a lot of time with him every night trying. He would play with my hair in order to sleep. He loved dancing and running away—oh, did he love to run away all the time. I was always on high alert whenever we were out of the house. He figured out how to unbuckle his belt on the stroller, how to take his whole seatbelt off in the car, and has locked me out of the car more times than I remember.
I can’t explain the love we all had for Baby Smiles. His smile lit up our whole lives and he had a bigger-than-life personality.
We received news after three years that he would be going to live with his bio family.
The last morning he spent with us, I put his shoes on and told him, ‘I love you so much. I will never forget you.’ He looked at me kinda sad and wiped my tears. He said, ‘Don’t cry, mama.’ He gave me a flower from outside before he jumped into the car and I still have it a year later.
We were shattered. The weeks and months after he left were pretty dark and we all really struggled to keep going and stay positive.
We finally got to see him after two months, and my goodness how much we squished him and hugged him. He struggled a lot when he left us, but it’s been a year now and he’s doing pretty good.
We love all these kids that come into our homes with everything we have. This is why we get attached and hurt when they leave, but this is what they need. We take all the bad and ugly and let them live through happiness.
It’s an absolute honor to be a part of these kids’ lives. When they leave, they take a piece of us with them.
My husband is the best human I know. He takes this on with no thought about himself or emotions. He gives these kids everything they need and more and treats them with so much love and care. I’m in awe.
At the moment we have Mr. Dimples and our foster daughter, Little Miss Bow, who is the sassiest 3-year-old you will ever meet. She loves snacks and listening to Post Malone’s ‘Sunflower,’ while jumping on the trampoline.
She keeps us so entertained and we are so lucky to witness her grow up with us. We don’t know what the future holds with her, but she’s been with us for two years and we are obsessed.
There have been so many sad moments throughout our journey, but the happy moments have been amazing. I’m so grateful and humbled to be able to walk this path with my husband and witness these kids have happy childhoods.
These beautiful kids are our future, and it’s our responsibility to keep them safe, happy, and loved.
My hope is for kids in foster care to never go without and to always feel loved and safe. To never have to worry about anything and just be kids.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Samar Dabbagh. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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