After almost nine years of being the foster carer for three siblings, Iqbal is preparing for the children to be returned to their mother who is now ready to care for them herself.
Iqbal admitted she was upset and worried about the children leaving her, but she knows they want to be with their mother and that this is the best outcome.
“I have given them the love and security they needed until this time, until they were ready to return to their family, so I know that I have been successful in my role as a foster carer,” Iqbal said.
Iqbal, who says she “loves people”, has six of her own children and 20 grandchildren.
When five of her children had left home to get married, Iqbal said her home was too quiet. A friend of hers who was a foster carer suggested that Iqbal would make a great foster carer, so she began the registration process.
Initially Iqbal was interested in caring for only one child, but two sisters who needed care were put forward for her consideration.
Mother of six, grandmother of 20, and foster carer of three, Iqbal.
“I couldn’t separate them,” Iqbal said, “and six weeks later their younger brother was also in the same situation — what could I say?”
As with any family, there have been highs and lows with caring for three foster children.
“The middle child has really felt it (the separation) the most and has given me some difficult times,” Iqbal said.
“But with the challenges come the highlights of knowing that I have helped these children to stay connected with their religion and their culture, and this has helped them become strong and happy people.”
Iqbal’s daughter is the registered respite carer for the siblings, so that when Iqbal needs to have time off, the children stay connected with the family.
To people considering becoming foster carers, Iqbal says, “Do it”.
“The support I receive from my SSI case worker helps a lot and when you become a foster carer you are not only helping the child, but you are helping yourself by giving and doing something for someone who really needs you.
“It’s a very special feeling.”
SSI supports foster carers with initial and on-going training, a bilingual case worker if preferred, support groups, respite care, and a 24 hour on call phone support service. In situations where the carer is not from the same background as the child, a Cultural Placement Plan is developed.
For information about the SSI Multicultural Foster Care Service or details on how to become a foster carer, visit the SSI website.