#HerWorldHerStory is a collection of 60 women sharing their successes, passions, challenges, inspirations, hopes and dreams. Together, they give a snapshot of what it is to be a woman today. Every month from March till August, we present 10 women navigating their lives now – and in their own words. This is Choo Kheng Huay’s story… Fostering is often misunderstood as a burdensome task. In Mandarin, there’s a saying, “Why make trouble for yourself?” Many friends and relatives are baffled at my choice, asking me, “Why become a foster parent: when you should be enjoying your life?” I actually live a very fulfilled life. My husband and I have been foster parents since 2002. We have four children of our own, and we’ve fostered 15 children so far.
The longest I’ve cared for a child is six years, and the shortest is 15 months. The foster kids call me “ah-ma” when I became a granny. My husband and I live in a six-room jumbo flat, and the foster kids play in the living room and in a playroom with toys.I took an interest in fostering years ago when my daughter showed me a news article on it. There were so many children who didn’t receive enough love and attention, and wound up astray. My husband and I have so much love to give, so I thought: Why not be foster parents? We registered with the Ministry of Social and Family Development. For each child, we get a monthly allowance. Fostering is a rewarding task, but it can be challenging. I once took in a three-year-old boy in 2014. He was so afraid of us when he arrived at our house. He cried for many nights… it broke my heart. We showered him with love every day and soon, he let his guard down when he started playing with the other kids at home! It is moments like this when you realise that there’s no better reward than seeing a happy child. Saying goodbye is the hardest part because you’ve developed a strong bond with them. I will continue to be a foster parent for as long as I can. I’m now caring for a nine-year-old boy, and I hope more people will take up fostering.
This article was first published in Her World’s June issue.