Being in foster care can be a scary and unpredictable experience for a child, but joining a new home can be even more frightening. While your intentions as a foster parent are unmistakably pure, you must still act with care and caution so that your new addition will take well to this experience. Building a home for your new child won’t be an easy task, but the outcome is well worth it. Here is how you can smoothly transition foster children into your home.
Talk To Them
Communication is key. While it is unreasonable to expect your new child to completely open up to you initially, it is still important that you voice the matters of your heart. Explain what it means to be a part of your family and what your intentions are. They need to know that you are there to change their life for the better.
Make Visits Ahead Of Time
The more your foster child becomes familiar with your presence, the more comfortable the transition will be. In fact, they will likely be flattered that you enjoy spending time with them. Regard these precious moment as opportunities to get to understand the personality of your child, and be sure to take note of their likes and dislikes.
Make Environmental Preparations
The goal is to make your new addition feel like a treasured family member, not a temporary guest in your home. To achieve this mission, you will want to prepare your living space accordingly. Designate a room or area for the child to make their own and moderately decorate your home with pictures of them or things that they would like. Allow them to do the bulk of the designing themselves. You can even make arrangements to involve them in sports or other extracurriculars.
Get Background Information
There is only so much that a child may reveal to you upfront, so you may want to question your caseworker to widen your scope. Ask about the biological parents and number of foster homes they have been a part of. Inquire about any behavioral patterns or possible traumas that they may be facing. Also, taking interest in the history of a child will help them to develop a greater sense of importance.
Being fostered into a new family is a life-changing event that will take some time to be adjusted to. Whether this transitional period takes a couple of days, weeks, or months, you will need to show empathy and patience during this time. Extend an offer of open communication and allow space for them to make sense of the moment. Don’t be so hard on yourself as a parent and allow yourself the room to learn and grow as well.