You have made the decision to add a child to your family, thru Foster Care. One of the many things prospective foster parent wonder about is how to best include and prepare their own children for the arrival of a foster child. Here are some guidelines:
- Reassure your child/ren that you are not trying to replace them; nor will ever trade them for anybody else in whole world! Explain the reasons for wanting to become foster parents, and emphasize to them that they are a crucial, unmissable and valued part of the process.
- Make your child/ren aware that the foster child needs space and understanding. Explain to them that they have been taken away from everything that has been familiar to them, and are probably going to be upset or unhappy.
- Your child/ren need to be taught that their own example of good behaviour will be a great way to teach the foster child.
- Make sure that your child/ren knows that they can come and talk to you at any time, about anything that concerns them about the fostering process, without judging them.
- It is very important for your child/ren to be told not to bombard the foster child with questions about where they came from or their family. They will start talking about it when they are ready.
- Promise your child/ren that the foster child will have to abide by the same house rules they have to, and will also have chores of their own to do. Make sure that you follow thru on this promise, and that the foster child gets chores within the first two weeks.
- Educate your child/ren on the importance of keeping the foster child’s history and background confidential. Not discussing the foster child’s past with all their friends, or people at church, etc..
- Your child/ren needs to be made aware of what is appropriate and not appropriate touch and behaviour. A foster child that has been sexually abused or raped may act out sexually or physically. Teach your child/ren to say “no”, and to come and call you should they feel uncomfortable in a situation. With very young children you will have to keep a watchful eye on their interaction for at least 6 months, or even longer.
- You will have to make a date night with each of the children in your home, at least ones a month. This will ensure that every child knows they are very important to you, and also create treasured one-on-one time together.
- We assume that our child/ren will understand that the new arrival will need lots of new clothe and toy purchases, but this is not necessarily the case. Make sure to explain the reality of the foster child not having anything to them, and always ensure that you also buy something for your own child/ren at the same time. It need not be of the same quantity or value, but they have to also be included. If you can’t afford to buy something for them as well, then rather leave the purchase for a later date when you are able to do so.