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'A child should be protected'

NURTURING: Madam Roszalita Mohamed and Mr Abdul Latif Jaafar with their foster child.                  

She confesses that she is extra protective of her foster child.

In fact, Madam Roszalita Mohamed is more careful with him than she was with her sons - now aged 13 and eight - when they were babies.

"It's because he is somebody else's child and I'm responsible for his safety. I don't want him to get hurt. If anything happens to him, I'm answerable. So I'm extra careful," she says.

Now that the toddler is learning to walk, the 36-year-old housewife says she holds him close at all times.

She recalls the day in 2012 when she first met the then one-month-old baby.

"The natural parents were there. I was a bit sad to see the child part with his family."

But there was also the excitement. She says that her foster son is easy to love.

She and her husband, administrative executive Abdul Latif Jaafar, 41, signed up with the Ministry of Social and Family Development's foster parenting scheme two years ago and this is their first foster child.

They had heard about the scheme from their cousins, who are also foster parents.

Says Mr Abdul Latif: "We learnt that some of the children may come from difficult situations. Most of the time, it is due to the errors of the adults.

"We feel that children should be protected from the problems of the adult world. They are too young to understand what's going on.

"They should be given space to grow.

"They need to be nurtured especially in their formative years so that they develop a sense of security that the world is safe for them."

Another foster parent, Madam Libby Vine, 41, feels that to be able to help is a gift.

The director of non-profit organisation Sanctuary House says: "The best thing you can give a child is love."

Her fostering journey started in early 2012 when she took in a sickly one-month-old baby and looked after him for two years."When I met him, I felt a real desire to care for him. I knew it was the right thing to do. It was meant to happen. My instinct was to protect him. It was a very overwhelming feeling."

A few months ago, the child went home to be with his natural parents.

"It is a grieving period you go through. It has been about seven months since he left and I'm still not ready to get rid of his cot yet," she says.

Emotionally, it has not been easy on her and her family, but looking after him has inspired her to look after other children.

She says: "We are so happy we did it. I encourage people to be foster parents because that's how you can make a difference in a child's life."