Veteran of Taiwan’s air force wins ‘model foster father’ award

Forty-six–year-old Shen Chih-cheng (沈志成) began to provide foster home care to underprivileged children with his wife Tsai Li-fen (蔡梨芬)16 years ago.   (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News)--Forty-six–year-old Shen Chih-cheng (沈志成) began to provide foster home care to underprivileged children with his wife Tsai Li-fen (蔡梨芬)16 years ago when he was serving in the air force of Taiwan and raising two children of their own.  

Shen and his wife love children and are interested in providing foster care. Even though their two children were still attending kindergarten at the time, he still supported his wife and helped with taking care of foster children, he said.   

Over the 16 years, the couple, who live in Taiwan’s southern county of Pingtung, has cared for 13 children. The first foster child was a seventh grader and one year after she was placed under their care, her biological parents died one after the other. Shen said that at that time he and his wife accompanied the child through the pain and told her it was an inevitable process of life. They told her there would be more setbacks in the future and encouraged her to develop professional skills.   

The child left them when she was in ninth grade and began to work, and she has been keeping in contact with them since then, the foster father said.

The next foster children were three-month-old and nine-month-old female babies. The couple looked after them for six years until they were attending kindergarten and were adopted by a family in the U.S. Shen said he had a teleconference with the adopter, and he and his wife felt relieved in the knowledge that the adoptive family was a good family. As the girls stayed in the foster home for six years, the couple missed them much after they left.   

Currently the couple is taking care of a foster child with multiple disabilities. They took the child outside to play and learn. Shen said they give the foster children parental love because “they all came from unfortunate families.”      

Shen said he works at AirAsia’s Pingtung plant after retirement from the air force, but his company supports his foster care cause and allows him to take leaves whenever he needs to take the foster child to see the doctor.

He said he felt fulfilled during the 16 years because he was able to do something for the society and had never thought of backing down from the foster care. He said his wife deserved the award more than him as she does most of the work while he only assists her on the side.   

Shen’s wife was conferred with the model foster mother award in 2008.