Meet Minna and Zubin
When Minna and Zubin’s son started his first year of high school, the Melbourne-based couple felt they had the time and capacity to open their home to more children, so they decided to explore fostering.
In 2022 they started their foster care journey, and since then, they have provided short-term foster care and respite care to four wonderful children.
Minna and Zubin sat down to answer questions about their fostering experience and share the wonderful impact it has had on their 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,” said Minna.
“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,” Minna shared.
How has fostering benefited your family?
Minna said that becoming foster carers has been a wonderful experience for their son.
“Naturally, our son was a bit nervous at first, but Life Without Barriers 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 helped 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 realising the impact fostering was having on our 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 cultures,” said Minna.
“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 young people 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 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,” shared Minna.
“What we think and experience can be very different to what a child coming into care is experiencing."
One piece of advice Minna shares is that it’s important to reach out for support when you need it.
“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.”
Minna also said it’s helpful to practice some reflection but also to remember to be gentle with yourself.
“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.”
Story originally published on Fostering Connections.
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