I have talked to my children a few times about the possibility of us becoming a Foster family. I have only grazed the surface so far as to what that means for us and have just introduced what Foster Parenting is in general. Their reaction was about what I expected, excitement and the idea that is it like having a long sleep over and making a new friend.
I am going to be introducing more aspects of it as I go through my training and learn more myself. I don’t want them to have false hopes and misunderstandings going into it, making it harder on everyone. I believe they are old enough that I can have deeper conversations with them about what to expect (they are 7 and 9 years old).
Some of the items I plan to discuss are:
More about what it means to be a Foster Family
I want to go over what our role is as a family and how we can welcome a child, even if just for a very short time, into our family.
What it means to be a Foster Child coming into our home
I want to go over what a foster child is, the general reasons for having to leave their home and discuss ideas on what it might be like for a child going through that. What feelings they think the child will have, and how they would feel having to leave their house to live with people they don’t know.
How can we make the child feel safe and welcome
To go along with the above discussions I would like to make this a brainstorming session with the kids to come up with ways they could help make a child feel more comfortable. Including what we should buy in preparation, what we think the children will need and also think of ways to make the child feel more comfortable (maybe they would like to go to the store to pick out their bedding, maybe they would like to make a family trip to the grocery store to pick out food they want, etc.)
How it will affect our quality time together
I want my children to understand that this will affect our family time. Sometimes for the better, sometimes not.
I want my children to know they are free to express themselves and discuss how they feel about situations openly. I also want to go over how the emotions of foster children may differ from theirs, including the way they express themselves.
Looking at what the Bible says about Fostering (and adoption)
I want to introduce my children to looking to our Bible and Prayer for guidance. We aren’t a deeply religious family but I want to introduce it to them to know it is there and open the discussion about it more.
Once I begin my training classes and learn more I will be talking more with the children. This is going to be important to help with transitions and the ups and downs we will experience. I will be breaking it up to be over the time period of my training (September through to December) as I don’t want to overwhelm them.
How did you discuss fostering with your children? What are your tips? What would you do different?
I am also looking for recommendations on reading material that may help with the introduction to my children and help prepare us as a family.