First Steps: Talking to my Children About Foster Care

let your faith be bigger

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.

Discussing Emotions 

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.



3 thoughts on “First Steps: Talking to my Children About Foster Care

  1. Great questions. I love that you are being honest with your biological kids, including them and talking to them! Continually remind them that they can come talk to you about ANYTHING (just one of the things that helped me as a bio kid).
    I can’t think of particular books at the moment (but that inspires me to write a post in the future!) Dr. John DeGarmo writes many fantastic articles about foster care and is a foster parent himself:
    This is one more thought from a bio kid: consider taking in children only younger than your youngest. I want to post about this in the future too, and can go into more detail, but that was the other big thing that helped my siblings and I as our family took in children.
    You sound like you are helping your kids so much already by simply acknowledging that foster care will effect them too!


    • Great point with the ages. We have talked about that and discussed what ages would work well with our family (completely forgot to include that in my post!). I think that is important for my son, who is the youngest.

      Liked by 1 person

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