There are a lot of steps that have to be taken before welcoming a foster child into your home. There are classes to attend, home studies, licenses, and background checks, just to name a few. In all the planning, don’t forget talking to your biological children about what it means to accept a foster child. Consider these five conversations with your children.
Explain What Foster Care Means
The first step is to explain what foster care really means. Explain the great need for loving foster families for these children in need of stability and explain that fostering is a temporary arrangement. Keep the conversation where your children can understand based on their age.
Explain Why You Chose Foster Care
Choosing to welcome a foster child is a deeply personal decision and your children probably will not fully understand. That’s okay. Explain that there are children who need loving families and you have the physical and emotional space to be that family.
Explain Potential Behavior Issues
Your children may be excited about accepting a new foster sibling but they may not understand the foster child may not feel the same. The new addition may very well be scared, angry, or overwhelmed and those feelings can come out in poor behavior. There need to be ground rules but there also needs to be space for adjustment.
Explain You Are Always Available to Talk
Even though it is good, fostering is very hard for everyone. Constant and open communication is a must. While you may be distracted by the needs of the foster child, explain that you are always available to talk with your children. They will have plenty to debrief about and will need the assurance that you are there to provide that.
Explain You Will be Fair as Possible
Make sure your child knows that you will be as fair as possible. You will maintain the same rules and chores throughout the entire family. Make sure the foster child is well aware of expectations within the first week of placement. Continuity will help your children better understand their new family situation and will help the foster child feel included in a family that works together.
Learn More About Welcoming a Foster Child
Open conversation is key to preparing your children for welcoming a foster child into your home. If you would like to learn more, please feel free to contact us.