The First Kiss Goodbye

November 12, 2018

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By Diana Koh

‘This is the first time she kissed me goodbye.” Mdm Noor said with tears glistening in her eyes.  Her three year old daughter, Nani, bid her goodbye and happily skipped off with her foster mother.  Mdm Noor was surprised by the little girl’s kiss as Nani was often more than eager to leave at the end of every session without saying goodbye.  This small and simple act of affection from Nani gave Mdm Noor assurance and hope in their budding mother-daughter relationship.

Access sessions between Nani and Mdm Noor first started in early 2016.  During the initial sessions, Nani would cry when she saw Mdm Noor approaching and refused to be carried by her.  Nani did not recognise Mdm Noor as her mother as she was fostered out since she was only a few days old.  Mdm Noor had no financial means to provide for Nani.  Although Mdm Noor felt helpless and hurt by Nani’s rejection, she was driven by her love for her daughter.  Her persistent and regular access with Nani paid off when Nani no longer cried at the sight of her mother and even called her ‘Umi’ (’mum’ in Malay).

Fast forward to 2017.  In any access session, Mdm Noor and Nani could be observed interacting like any mother and daughter; drawing, playing, singing and talking together.  There is no sign of discomfort or rejection.  However, this relationship wasn’t built overnight; and took weekly access sessions to flourish.  Mdm Noor picked up practical parenting skills to engage Nani, supervised her and addressed her misbehaviour.  Through feedback and practices during access, Mdm Noor felt empowered as a mother.  She no longer thinks she is unfit to be a mother, and now sees herself as a mother who is able to provide care and love for her child.

Diana Koh is an ACCESS Worker and the Assistant Manager of the Family Welfare department.

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