Zain’s fostering journey began after he was inspired by his work as a social worker. He knew at some point he wanted to begin fostering, he just didn’t know when. He raised the topic with his wife who agreed it was a good idea – but it wasn’t the right time, seeing as they had three young children. She told him they would explore this idea more in the future. Zain and his wife waited 10 years before they began their fostering journey.
Fast forward to the present day and the couple have fostered 14 kids, with two being long term placements. One child stayed with them for seven years, and one for four years, and they’re still regularly in contact with the couple to this day.
When asked about the length assessment process before being approved to be a foster carer, Zain explained to us that he had a positive outlook about it from the outset, and that this mind-set comes from his faith. He believes every experience is a chance to better yourself and grow.
On the assessment: ‘I actually found it to be extremely therapeutic, and my wife and I were able to reminisce over our lives together when writing our biographies…’
Zain credits his experience as a social worker to his ease with the assessment process. He explains that he understood fully what would be asked of him, so he wasn’t caught by surprise at any of the questions he was asked. He stresses that another reason why he was so at ease was because the social worker working with him and his wife was so supportive and helpful.
On his experience as a foster carer; ‘it’s been the most fulfilling and positive experience. Obviously there have been challenges but I knew what I was getting myself into… I wouldn’t change it.’
We asked Zain if he had to deal with children with behavioural issues and how he handled it, and he explained to us that when you foster you should acknowledge that at some stages in your journey you will have to deal with difficult children.
On behavioural issues; ‘children in care have often experienced trauma, neglect and/or abuse. To expect them to be left without residual emotional scars would be silly.’
Luckily for Zain and his wife, they were prepped for such issues during their training beforehand and were told to expect that there would be bumps in the road since the children they would be fostering would most likely come from dysfunctional backgrounds.’
What would you say to potential Muslim foster carers?
‘Don’t think twice, go in with it with your eyes open and pray to Allah that it’ll be an enriching experience. Don’t look at it’ll benefit you, think about how it could benefit a child in need and do your research, so you’re not surprised during the assessment stages.’