I am a mom of three children living in Michigan, and I always felt I had an obligation to serve those in need, especially children. Once I learned of the reality of Muslim children in foster care and the lack of Muslim homes licensed to care for these children, I knew I had to become a foster parent. I felt these children are no different than my own children and I had an obligation to them. I was told there were many Muslim children in foster care in the United States, domestic and refugee, who had requested Muslim homes as their preference. However, unfortunately, because there are very few licensed Muslim foster homes, many of the Muslim foster kids are placed with families of other faiths. Foster care agencies do their best to place foster children in homes that would be the best fit for the children. However, Muslim children are rarely, if ever, placed in Muslim homes.
Of course, my husband, Anas Obeid, and I had some apprehensions moving forward with the licensing process. Our biggest concern was how our children would respond to such a significant change in our lives. After a lot of prayer and consideration, we decided to move forward with the licensing process in the Fall of 2014. We put our faith completely in Allah. We relied on tawakul and had faith that Allah would guide us and put ease in our efforts to fulfill our communal obligations. We used Samaritas (formerly LSSM) as our licensing agency because of their refugee foster care program. We were really motivated and were able to complete the licensing process in 3 months.
Fostering is a change for the entire family and a time commitment. There is a real change in the family structure and dynamics. This was an especially significant change for my three young children. They needed reassurance that their family stability and their place in the family had not changed. My children had to adjust to our relative’s and community’s reaction to us being a foster family.
I love that my children are exposed to a culture different than our own and get a glimpse of how people live in other parts of the world. I am certain this will be a life lesson for my children and increase their compassion and generosity for people everywhere.