A couple in Hualien with four adult children has for the past 18 years given back to society by taking care of more than 20 abandoned babies, and providing them with a warm and loving foster home.
Tsai Ah-chih (蔡阿池) and his wife, Tsai Yu Chu-tzu (蔡游菊子), both now in their 60s, retired this year, but they continue to care about the foster children they looked after, hoping that each one is leading a good life.
Looking at photographs of one of their foster children called Michael, who was adopted by a family in the US, they said they were simply elated to see that he has grown taller and stronger.
Tsai Yu was the first to consider providing foster care for babies who needed a stable, loving home to grow up in.
After discussing it with her husband and getting his support, the couple received professional training at the Taiwan Fund for Children and Families to become foster parents.
“At first, the children would call us ‘uncle’ and ‘aunt,’” Tsai Yu said.
However, as they grew older, the children invariably called them “grandpa” and “grandma,” she added.
They took care of the foster children as if they were their own grandchildren, and even involved their own children and their spouses to help out on occasion.
The Tsais said that they were gratified to see that all four of their children have been influenced by their example and not only helped them take care of the foster children, but also do charity work.
Over the years, hosting babies has been tiring, but also a gratifying experience, they said.
They recalled that one of the abandoned children they were looking after developed a habit of stealing. The child’s erratic behavior later became more serious and they were so disheartened that they thought about giving up being a foster family.
However, they decided to persevere after getting encouragement from the fund.
“To persist is very important,” the Tsais said, adding that a foster family has to be psychologically prepared to accept any challenge and not to give up easily.
Tsai Yu said they never wanted money or anything else in return for serving as a foster family.
“Taking care of the children has been hard, but they also enriched our lives and it is we who should be grateful for the experience,” she said.