Reena & Tariq

from Manchester

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Reena Ghani and her husband Tariq Khan from Manchester, have been foster carers with Fostering Solutions since 2015, along with the support of their nephew, 22, who lives with them. They had a tough first placement that nearly ended Reena and Tariq’s fostering journey but now, three foster placements later, they’re happier than ever.

Reena decided to put her full attention into being the best foster carer possible. After being a high school teacher in a small independent Muslim school for over six years, she’s now decided to make fostering her full time job.

She said: “Tariq and I had always thought about fostering and when we were moving house we decided to buy somewhere that allowed us to do that. Initially we thought that because we didn’t have our own children we wouldn’t be approved.

“We were put in contact with Fostering Solutions by a friend. The initial conversation was amazing, the girl on the phone was very attentive, and she listened to everything I said and was extremely encouraging and reassured us that not having our own children wasn’t a problem. This initial conversation gave me everything I needed to decide to foster with Fostering Solutions.

“One of our placements was a 14 year old girl who came into our care for six weeks respite. She had been said to be abusive and disruptive when in actual fact she was completely the opposite. She was polite and attentive and wanted to build a relationship with us. She opened up to me, telling me about her family life before and why she was so angry. I felt honoured that she trusted me and it’s shown me how much these children need a happy home. It motivates me to carry on fostering.

“We now have two unaccompanied asylum seeker boys in our care aged 16 and 17. When the first boy came to stay with us, we thought it’d be difficult due to his situation but with my husband being from Pakistan and having some relatable factors like moving to the UK and learning English he’s settled in really well. He even encouraged his friend to request to move into our care and he’s now our second foster son.

“They love to cook and they’re so enthusiastic about learning English. They sit with our nephew and read to him, they look up to our nephew as he’s doing well in university and is of a similar age. The boys have been through so much; I hear them talking sometimes about their journeys here and how they nearly died or were captured. It saddens me to think that such wonderful, polite boys have been through so much.

“As the boys are Muslim, they’ll be joining us in fasting for Ramadan this year, which is great, it’s an opportunity to bond and spend more time together. We’ll take them to the mosque to pray and it’s a great family experience.

“Even if the children in our placement aren’t Muslim, it’s great for them to experience different cultures and traditions. When we had the young girl in placement for Ramadan last year, she was so interested and inquisitive. She had great respect for us and if I was low on energy and needed a nap she would understand. She ate earlier than us as our meals can be quite late some evenings whilst fasting but apart from that it’s just a great all round experience for both us and the foster children.

“Fostering has been a real eye opener for us but I’m so glad we never gave up, as the placements have just got better and better and I’m so happy to be a part of these children’s lives. You have this idea that you’re going to be a great mum to these foster children when really you’re not replacing their mother; a foster parent is a completely different, unique role.

“Fostering definitely has its challenging days but it’s also so rewarding, you get to see the massive impact you’re making on these children’s lives and you can see it pretty much straight away. If you love children and are patient and tolerant then fostering is definitely something you should do. Just don’t give up at the first hurdle, as the good days definitely outweigh the bad.”

If you would like to find out more about becoming a foster carer, then call our friendly team today on 02036995007.

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