Most of us are barely able to keep our head above water with one or two children. Imagine dozens? Well, that’s the incredibly moving story of Madam Indranee Nadisen, 77, who has mothered dozens of foster children. And we aren’t exaggerating.
Madam Indranee, a grandmother of seven, has looked after 43 foster children to be exact. These children were either abandoned or abused by their own parents. She has spent almost all of her life providing shelter to children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Madam Indranee’s Story
Known to many as a super foster mother, she has voluntarily taken in foster children, one after another for a period of 32 years. She stopped fostering about 10 years ago for her health no longer permitted her to do so.
She suffers from arthritis and had to undergo a replacement surgery for both her knees. Her woes didn’t end there for her shoulder gave her problems and at a point in time, she could barely lift her right hand so carrying a baby was completely out of the question.
But that’s not to say that she doesn’t miss looking after foster children!
All our worries go away when we see children run about, laugh and love us.
The idea of foster parenting is not new to this grandmother who lives with her 83-year-old husband and a maid. Her unconditional love and care for children from disadvantaged and needy backgrounds stem from her own experience. Madam Indranee was born to her Chinese biological parents who gave her away as a baby to an Indian couple.
She stopped attending school after Primary six as her father then lost his job. Her mother began taking in foster children to earn some money.
She is clueless as to who her biological parents were and never actually asked her adoptive parents about them or made any attempt to locate them. Her adoption was something that they never talked about.
Race and other differences do not matter when it comes to taking in foster children.
“I didn’t want to hurt their feelings by asking if I’m adopted but it was obvious. This is what I think: in the old days, the Chinese didn’t like girls so they gave them away,” she said. But her adoptive parents who had no children of their own, and had her and another adopted daughter, cherished her and she has no regrets about how her life unfolded.
Madam Indranee married her husband, Mr Anthony Ambrose Dorai, at the age of 21. Together they have seven children of their own – five sons and two daughters who are now in their 40s and 50s.
What is it like looking after foster children
When her own children were in school, Madam Indranee started taking in foster children. She would take up to three foster children at a time and her children were supportive and helpful.
She took in babies for anywhere between a month to two years. The journey was smooth-sailing for the most part and only a few foster children gave her grief.
You must be patient and love children to be a foster mum. You can’t smack, scream or shout, as they will get more angry and stubborn. But if you show them love, they will listen.
Experiences with foster children
Madam Indranee looked after a baby boy who just would not stop crying.
Distraught and not knowing what to do, she asked her father for guidance and what to do with the child. He asked what she would do if it were her own child, would she throw him away?
Some foster children were more difficult to look after.
That gave her the courage and motivation to persevere. She continued caring for him until a family adopted him.
Mary, a 32-year-old financial consultant lived with Madam Indranee’s family for close to 30 years. She recently got married and moved out. She was placed in foster care as unfortunately, both her parents suffered from schizophrenia.
Even as an adult, she requested to continue living with her foster family as her father had a tendency to be violent.
Mary graduated and topped her university class. And here’s what she has to say to her foster mother:
“Mummy’s love is genuine and this is something no one can replace. And my (foster) siblings are supportive. If I didn’t have them, I might have ended up on the streets or joined a gang. They gave me a fighting chance to get out of the rut and it changed my life.”
What is it like parting with foster children
In the case of Mary, Madam Indranee shared that parting was extremely difficult as her entire family loved her so much.
To me, she’s my daughter.
In fact, she said it was never easy parting with any of her children.
“They would cling on to me and refuse to let me go. My heart would break and I could not stop crying,” she described.
According to the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), Madam Indranee is one of the longest-serving foster mothers in Singapore. Their spokesman said of her,
“Her selfless act of opening up her home to welcome these children into her care has given them another chance at achieving happiness and success in life. She has not only transformed 43 lives, but inspires many other foster parents and exemplifies the spirit of a caring and inclusive society.”
Children from disadvantaged backgrounds get a second chance in life when they are fostered.
Madam Indranee has a heart of gold and has set an exemplary path towards selflessness and giving back to society. And you’d be surprised to know that even in this day and age, there are many big-hearted individuals who open their doors and their hearts to foster children.
MSF also renders supports to those who wish to foster children for there are people with big enough hearts but not necessarily deep enough pockets. For example, when Madam Indranee was still fostering children in the 2000s, she received up to $800 a month for each child she fostered.
There are many children who are suffering and would give anything to have a safe and happy environment to live in. Let’s hope that more people would come forth to help these little angels the way Madam Indranee did!
Source: The Straits Times
Image source: The Straits Times