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Carol

Your Unfolding Path
May 2001

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by Carol Adrienne, Ph.D.


Carol 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 Purpose

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 seven years."

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 facility."

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 childís life.í

"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 world."

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 (510) 236-4178.

***

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.

 

Click Here to Learn More About Carol Adrienne

 

Read Carol's Past Columns

April 2001

March 2001

February 2001

January 2001

December 2000

November 2000

October 2000

September 2000

August 2000

July 2000

June 2000

May 2000

April 2000

March 2000

February 2000

January 2000

 

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