Adrienne's work and teachings have been a great
inspiration to me! In August of 1998, about four months after my
father passed away, I read about one of Carol's
workshops in a Learning Annex catalog and
synchronistically found her book on a bookshelf at the
bookstore. The themes of her teachings were
familiar and comforting, as they confirmed the thoughts
and ideas my father had shared with me shortly before
his passing. Her books and workshops ignited my
spiritual curiosity, setting me on my soulful life path,
which led to the very creation of
SoulfulLiving.com! Carol's participation has been
an integral part of SoulfulLiving.com, at its soul
level! Thank you, Carol, with all my heart!
~Valerie, Founder and Soul, SoulfulLiving.com
Blessings in Disguise Reveal Life
Seven years ago Khaleedah Muhammad and her husband, Ansar,
were talking about all the things they wanted to do once their
last son graduated from high school in a year. "We wanted
to buy a Winnebago and drive all over the US and maybe even go
on a cruise." Khaleedah, now fifty-seven, recalls.
"Out of the blue one afternoon, I received a phone call
from one of the County social workers. He told me that two of
my grandchildren had been taken into protective custody, as my
step-daughter was unable to care for them. He asked me if I
would be willing to take the kids for two weeks, until their
mom got an apartment. We said sure. That two weeks turned into
Burden or Blessing?
This unanticipated turn in the road, seemed at first a
burden and a hardship. Now, Khaleedah sees it as a perfect
beginning to the rest of her life, and the key to her life
purpose. "In the beginning, taking care of two very small
children was extremely difficult for me. I had already raised
my kids, and frankly, I felt resentment towards the mom. I
kept thinking, ĎHow could she do this to me?í Years later,
I now know these are normal feelings for many kinship care
providers (a term for relatives who provide foster care).
Taking care of two small kids seemed at first to block my
plans and dreams. However, as it turns out, just the opposite
happened. With the support of my husband who encouraged me to
get a masterís degree, and my sister-in-law who helped at
home, I was able to graduate in psychology at the top of the
class. Even more interesting, is that my experience raising my
grandchildren gave me exactly the type of perspective and
experience that I would need when opportunities to develop a
new career came along."
After getting her degree, Khaleedah synchronistically met
Dr. Intisar Shareef, head of the foster kinship care program
at Contra Costa Community College in San Pablo, California.
Both Muslims, they met while attending services at the same
mosque. "Dr. Shareef asked me to teach some early
childhood classes, and then later she asked if Iíd be
interested in helping to set up the kinship care program. As
fate would have itóeven though I had no idea taking care of
my grandchildren would lead to a new careeróthis program was
a perfect match for me. I love working with the providers,
with Dr. Shareef, and with the staff, and I meet so many
wonderful people. We are all like extended family."
Khaleedah and her husband also own a non-profit group home,
which provides care for girls who are referred by the county.
These girls, many of whom have been abused and neglected,
often have emotional issues that are best handled by trained
staff in a group setting. "They stay until they are
reunited with their families, which is, unfortunately,
rare," says Khaleedah, "Or until they are
emancipated at eighteen, or are placed at another
A Nourishing Life for All Concerned
"We have a professional staff, and as the director, Iím
there almost every day. I love working with these girls. Not
only that, but Iím also blessed because my son-in-law and
daughter and two sons all work there. Iíve trained them all.
Itís wonderful to see how theyíve grown and how theyíve
handled the business in a nurturing way. My husband and I get
an incredible sense of satisfaction from seeing all of this.
Every day is exciting. If I died tomorrow, Iíd know that Iíve
had a wonderful life. Iíve had ups and downs, and gone from
rags to riches, but itís been wonderful."
Khaleedah believes that what makes the difference in her
life is her spiritual connection. She says, "When you
have a spiritual perspective, you can really see the good in
your life. People who donít have a spiritual outlook tend to
feel lost--or even worse, like a victim--and they fall into
constant complaining. When Iím confused or depressed I go to
the Koran. This wisdom always uplifts me. I gain a deeper
insight into myself and the problems and issues in my life.
For example, on Dec. 27th last year, Ramadan (a
Muslim holy month) was over, and we were coming home from Eid
prayer. There we were stuck in traffic, and we got a call that
our house was on fire! After we found out that all the kids
and my sister and brother-in-law were safe, we just let it go
and put it in the hands of God. The family room burned up, but
thereís even a blessing there. Because of the insurance
settlement, we can actually afford now to do the remodelling
we always dreamed of, but couldnít afford before the fire.
The old TV got burned up, so we were able to buy a new and
bigger television as well as a DVD player."
Anything is Possible
This same house was proof of the power of intention a few
years ago. Khaleedah, to this day, can hardly believe that she
and her husband were able to find the money for a down payment
on the house at a time when they were completely broke, and
their foster care business was in itís start-up phase.
"At the time we got our two grandkids, we were living
in a small three-bedroom apartment in Richmond. My daughter
and her baby, my sister-in-law and my youngest son were also
living with us. Altogether, there were eight of us in this
small apartment. We began to look at rental houses that would
be big enough for all of us. However, when landlords found out
there were eight of us, they wouldnít rent to us.
"Finally, one day my husband got really fed up with
having his family rejected by all these landlords. He said to
me, ĎWe are going to buy a house.í I was completely
floored, and I said, "How can we do that? We donít have
any money!" He said, "We have faith, donít we? God
will open a way." The first real estate agent we went to
just laughed at us when he found out we didnít have any
money. He told us to come back when we had money. He referred
us to a broker who he said might possibly help us get our
finances together. This second agent was wonderful. He was
like an angel. You have to understand that we were so broke
that we even had to borrow twenty-five dollars from my mother
for the credit check. But this man said, ĎIíll help you if
youíll follow my suggestions.í
"We began to pay off our debts, and we cleaned up our
credit rating. We made a pact to stay home and watch videos
and eat popcorn to save money instead of going out. We saved
every penny we could get our hands on. Meanwhile, the income
from our group home business began to improve dramatically.
Money that had been held up suddenly became available. With
all that we saved and with the help of my mom, we came up with
$10,000 in four months. To this day, I donít know how we did
it so fast except with the help of God. After the house went
through escrow, the lender almost backed out because we were
self-employed, but the broker stepped in and convinced the
lender to finance the house. It seemed like another miracle. I
really believe that this broker was like an angel because he
never gave up on us."
Make a Difference
Khaleedah and Ansar are an inspiring example of people who
are always quietly helping others even though sometimes it
might seem to be a great sacrifice to themselves. But,
Khaleedah says, "My husband always says, ĎWhen you help
people, there is no way you can go wrong,í and I know this
to be true from our own experiences.
"Fostering a child is one of lifeís most rewarding
experiences. When my granddaughter tells me, ĎI love you,
Grandma. I donít know what I would do without you,í that
feeling makes it all worthwhile. You know youíve done
the right thing.
"In the beginning when the children came to us, I
prayed and prayed and asked God, ĎWhy me?í A voice came to
me and said, ĎWhy not you? This is your job. Are you your
brotherís keeper? Yes, you are.í After that I didnít
have any more problems and I accepted it as something I had to
do. Now I feel Iím the one who has benefited the most
from taking them into my home. I have a fuller life than I had
before. When I got the kids I thought my own plans were over.
But it turned out just the opposite. Through this unexpected
turn of events, I now have not only a successful business, but
Iím able to be a part of creating this new vision of
holistic foster/kinship care at the college. I tell people,
ĎIf you want to make a difference, make a difference in a
"The foster care/kinship system has gone through a lot
of changes to make it easier to become a foster parent,"
says Khaleedah. "Many people assume that foster kids are
in trouble, but thatís not true. A lot of them are in foster
care through no fault of their own, but because their parents
canít care for them. With love and care, those issues can be
worked through. Even single people can become foster parents.
Itís an extremely rewarding way to make a difference in the
Khaleedah Muhammad, was born and raised in West Oakland,
California and has been married to her second husband, Ansar,
for almost thirty years. Together they have seven children and
fourteen grandchildren, and two great grandchildren. She is
the Education Coordinator for the Foster/Kinship Care Program
at Contra Costa College, in San Pablo, California. In addition
to being the executive director of With Loving Care, Inc.--the
parent company of Ansari House in Richmond, California-- she
is also the senior consultant of Muhammad and Associates,
which provides workshops and seminars on relationships,
empowerment, and kinship issues. Khaleedah is currently
writing a book on how growing up fatherless affects womensí
relationships with men. You may contact Khaleedah Muhammad at
Carol Adrienne, Ph.D., is an
internationally-known workshop facilitator and author whose
books have been translated into over fifteen languages. Her
books include The Purpose of Your Life: Finding Your Place
in the World Using Synchronicity, Intuition, and Uncommon
Sense; Find Your Purpose, Change Your Life, and The
Numerology Kit. She also co-authored with James Redfield, The
Celestine Prophecy: An Experiential Guide and The Tenth
Insight: Holding the Vision--An Experiential Guide.
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