Mohamed Bzeek, a 62-year-old Muslim immigrant in California adopts children neglected by the foster care system. He has spent two decades caring for terminally ill foster children. The children who are admitted in state-run hospitals need to experience love, hope, and laughter, which they rarely get. Mohamed Bzeek’s is the only foster home in the county known to take them in.
Melissa Testerman, a DCFS intake coordinator who finds placements for sick children, says if anyone ever calls us and says, ‘This kid needs to go home on hospice,’ there’s only one name we think of.
Bzeek moved to California from Libya in 1978 for studies. In 1987 he met a woman named Dawn, who used to foster children in the early 1980s, and her home was an emergency shelter for foster children in protective custody, or who needed immediate placement. In 1989, after getting married, they both decided that they would devote their lives to helping the most vulnerable children. By the mid-1990’s they decided to focus on caring only for terminally ill children, as no one else would take them in.
The couple had their only biological child, Adam, who was born with dwarfism and brittle bone disease. He was born in 1997. He was so fragile that everyday things like changing his diaper could break bones. Today, Adam is 19. He attends Citrus College, where he studies computer science. He gets around on an electric wheelchair, and all of his classmates are much taller than he is. “But he’s a fighter,” Bzeek said.
In 2000 Dawn fell ill, suffering from powerful seizures that would leave her incapacitated for days. She had blood clots in her lungs. In 2015 she succumbed to her illness. After his wife’s death, Bzeek continued their work. He now cares for a severely disabled 6-year-old girl who was born deaf, blind and with microcephaly, a condition where the brain doesn’t develop properly and partially protruded from her skull.
Mohamed Bzeek says, ‘even if these children cannot communicate or see or hear, they have a soul. They need somebody to love them. I tell them, ‘It will be okay — I am here for you. We will go through this together.’ “
Rosella Yousef, assistant regional administrator for Medical Case Management Services, says “Mohamed is an exceptional foster parent — it is his love and excellent care that has kept the child currently in his care thriving when initially, she was only expected to live a few weeks,” said. “He has kept her living well beyond her doctors’ expectations.”
Mohamed’s story of dedication to abandoned children who nobody else wants has touched the hearts of millions, many of which wanted to help him out with donations.