updated 24 Nov 2012, 08:42
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Wed, Nov 14, 2012
The Straits Times
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Singapore PRs give back by fostering kids
by Eve Yap

Being a foster parent is her way of giving back to Singapore, says housewife Libby Vine. The 39-year-old adds: "We love Singapore so much and we feel it's a way for us to be involved, know the country and the issues affecting it on a personal level."

The American and her husband Richard Vine, 46, a futures broker originally from Britain, have lived here for 51/2 years and became Singapore permanent residents in August last year.

They have three children of their own and live in a three-storey detached home in Bukit Timah.

She had approached Sanctuary House in January after being "touched" by church friends who found time for "so many foster kids". The baby arrived the following month.

Her main concern about her two-month-old foster child was his health. "He was born premature and looked sick when he came to me. He wouldn't reach out for toys either."

A typical soccer mum, Mrs Vine ferries her children to a host of lessons from tuba to gymnastics and coaches eldest child Madeleine, 18, who is taking her International Baccalaureate examinations next May.

The baby goes everywhere with her in a sling, from the wet market to her meetings with friends.

Her children are willing helpers. Madeleine texts the baby's natural mother to confirm pick-up and drop-off points, and prints location maps for Mrs Vine.

Rory, 14, is a 1.8m-tall muscleman who helps carry the pram and bags.

Vanessa, six, is the entertainer, making baby "shriek with laughter" when she tickles and plays with him.

With her husband keeping her in "focus" on her duties as a foster parent, she is working towards returning the baby to his birth mother at the right time.

A book of the infant's first milestones - his first smile, tooth and haircut - is ready for when he leaves.

Says Mrs Vine: "It's to show him that in the first year of his life, someone cared enough and that he was well looked after."

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