Minna and Zubin's fostering story
Minna and Zubin are new foster carers having been accredited in early 2022. They share their fostering experience and the wonderful impact it has had on their own biological son.
Tell us about yourselves...
My name is Minna and my husband’s name is Zubin. We became foster carers with Life Without Barriers in April 2022. Since then, we have cared for four wonderful children mostly on a short-term basis and through respite. We live in Melbourne and have a son who is entering his first year of high school.
Why did you decide to become foster carers?
We had our own son, but we felt we still had the time and capacity to open our home up to more children, so we decided to explore fostering. We looked up a local foster care agency and took the next step, and it has turned into a beautiful experience for our family.
How did the accreditation process prepare you as a family?
We didn’t know much about foster care before we started the process. Our idea was to give it a try knowing that if it wasn’t right for our family, we could change our minds. The process and training helped us as a family understand what kind of carers we were, and how we go about our fostering journey. Much like being a parent, fostering is a journey, and you learn a lot about yourself as you go.
How did you decide what type of foster care to provide?
We both work full-time and so we wanted to take the process step by step. We decided to start with respite care providing care for children on the weekends while their full-time carers needed some time off. We first provided respite for a young girl who was in kinship care and she came to stay for a couple of weekends and then we went on to care for a sibling group as well.
Towards the end of 2022, we decided to take a short break from fostering so that we could prepare our son for his first year of high school. Once he is settled in, we are very keen to have more children come into our home and continue our fostering journey. That's the great thing about fostering, it can be very flexible to ensure your family’s needs come first.
How has fostering benefited your own son?
For us, fostering has been a wonderful experience for our own child. Naturally, our son was a bit nervous at first, but our foster care agency came to chat with us to prepare everyone in our family. Our son ended up building great relationships with the children in our care and making them feel very welcome.
It's often been the case that when children come to stay, they gel with our son first because they feel more comfortable having another child around. They then slowly warm up to us as adults.
Our son has become a more understanding and open-minded person too. A great example is he would often play music with the kids. One day he turned around and instead of choosing the song himself, he asked what song another boy would like to listen to. It was a small but beautiful moment in reasliing the impact fostering was having on our own son in becoming a more generous person.
How do you incorporate your culture into fostering?
We are from an Indian background, but we provide care for children from all different backgrounds. For us, it's all about sharing and understanding each other's ways of life and making sure everyone who comes into our home feels safe. If the kids in our care have questions and are interested in our culture, then we chat more. If they are not interested, we don't push it.
In our family we eat rice with our hands and the children who come into our care have been very curious about that. One little girl that came to stay with us wanted to give it a try and ate with her hands too. After a while, she decided it wasn't for her and went back to eating with a spoon and that's okay.
What advice do you have for people thinking about becoming foster carers?
We went into fostering with big expectations as foster carers of the difference we could make, but we quickly realised it’s all about the small wins and a gradual process of making a difference. What we think and experience can be very different to what a child coming into care is experiencing.
Be open and flexible and know that when those challenges arise, you always have your agency on the other end of the phone to call for help.
From the moment a child leaves, we sit down and reflect and think about what we can do better next time as new foster carers but know that we always tried our best. Ultimately, the goal for every foster carer should be to give children the best of care before they can hopefully be happily reunited with their family.
Interested in becoming a foster carer?
Fostering Connections welcomes foster carers from all backgrounds and walks of life. If you can create a safe and supportive home for a child to thrive, give us a call on 1800 013 088 or enquire online.