Life was comfortable – our children were all grown up and had left the house. My wife, Joyce, and I had the luxury of spending personal time together, going on dates or even vacations together whenever we wanted to. So when Joyce brought up the idea of fostering, I wasn’t keen – caring for another child just didn’t cross my mind.
Then we heard about a baby girl in hospital who urgently needed a home. Since going through a major surgery before the age of one, Baby S was in and out of hospital regularly. That’s when my attitude towards fostering changed. Our hearts went out to her and we felt sad that this precious little girl did not have a stable family who would love and care for her daily. We decided that we needed to do something.
After a stringent 4-month assessment process, we were finally certified to become foster parents. We brought her back with us, delighted at the prospect of being able to give her a place she could call home. However, we knew full well it wasn’t going to be easy. She required additional attention because she was prone to occasional episodes of seizures, and we weren’t exactly sure how we would cope with her medical condition.
Fast forward a year later, Baby S has grown so much and so well. She has brought so much joy to the family and it has been wonderful seeing the world through her eyes. Everything is new and amazing – taking a walk in the park, tasting something new, playing in the sand. We are reminded that it doesn’t take much for us to be truly happy. We lose sight of the little joys in life, until we see them through the eyes of an innocent little girl.
One thing that brings joy to my heart is how she is starting to develop an attachment with us. She would call for “papa” or “mama” and stretch out her little arms whenever she needs some assistance or assurance.
I also love how she has impacted our extended family. She has given my elderly father-in-law something to look forward to everyday. He can just sit still for hours on end and be totally amused by her every little move. With such an engaging smile that melts your heart and a hearty laughter that brightens up your day, it isn’t difficult to imagine why this is so.
People who live long enough have probably discovered that they can’t be happy just by doing things for themselves. There will come a point when almost all the dreams they had for themselves have come to pass, and yet they still don’t feel fulfilled. That’s why I truly believe that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Others might think that we are being sacrificial and generous by giving a foster child a loving home, but in actual fact, she is giving us so much more.
Things have not been all rosy – date nights are hard to come by, and vacations aren’t as easy to arrange anymore. We asked ourselves whether we’d rather be able to do all these fun things, or have Baby S in our lives. Without any hesitation, we know that being able to care for her is infinitely more meaningful than one thousand dates and vacations.
Baby S recently celebrated her second birthday, and I was reminded how a life that started out rough is now a life worth celebrating. It is meaningful privilege to be able to give the gift of a new beginning to a child, and we are truly grateful for the opportunity to do that, and more.
Teh Hsin and Joyce believe passionately in the value of human life and have a big heart for helping others. They love spending time together as a family, especially with Baby S, whom they affectionately call their little “Dora”.