My family is considering fostering a nine-year old girl from Afghanistan, who will be coming to the US to go to school. She is from a small village, in which she is the only person who has learned to read and write. We have two young children, aged 4 and almost 2. We are excited, but nervous. We have never fostered before, and would appreciate any advice about fostering foreign children, specifically from Muslim families, as keeping her religious identity is very important to her family.
Thanks in advance,
Sounds like a foreign exchange more than fostering. Perhaps try a board about foreign exchange for more advice?
As far as religion goes, just try to find a mosque near you and tell them about the situation to see if she could attend services and so forth. Find out the schedule so you can work out transportation.
You may also want to read up a bit about Muslim dietary restrictions so that you can accomodate her meals.
Is this through a specific organization? Are there other girls coming with her to be fostered/hosted in your area? I would like to think they have lots of training and resources available to help you.
Yes, def. find a mosque in your area, im betting they would be more than happy to help you meet her cultural needs.
Wow, I am interested in this program. We had a Muslim foreign exchange student through the YES program run by the State Department. She was from Kosovo, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. Originally we were going to get a boy from Afghanistan, but his visa fell through. We still Skype at least once a week and feel very close to her. How long will you have this student?
The dietary restrictions were not that difficult for us, though our student only avoided pork.
I was just browsing through this forum, our family is starting the process of getting licensed for foster care. Thought I'd chime in although I'm not familiar with your area.
Not all mosques are overly friendly, depending on the cultural background of the community. Even myself as a Muslim, I can walk into a mosque where everyone smiles and welcomes and I feel at home regardless of my background, and other places where no one smiles or notices except if I happen to do something wrong, partly because they are not used to dealing with people of other ethnicities. It's unfortunate, but Muslims are by no means monolithic just like any other faith. Is there a large university close to you? I'd suggest getting in touch with a Muslim chaplain at the nearest university (if there is one) and he/she may be able to direct you to the more vibrant community mosques in your area.
Congregational services (Jumuah prayer) are always offered on Friday early afternoons, and a lot of high schools and community colleges have prayers on-site for students. You can also drop in any mosque during any of the five daily prayers--just to get a feel for what the people are like. A child from Afghanistan may never have met a Muslim who was *not* from Afghanistan, so a typical American mosque with people from overwhelmingly different backgrounds may also be a completely new experience for her.
Does she speak English? Do you share any language with her? I would think the language would be the first and most urgent hurdle to address. Kudos to you for considering the religious and dietary differences, but I think if I were a little kid leaving my family and culture, communication would be the most important bridge.
Rhu - mother,grandmother,daughter,sister,friend-foster,adoptive,and biological;not necessarily in that order. Some of it's magic, some of it's tragic, but I had a good life all the way (Jimmy Buffet)