Here are the top five facts about foster kids that you should know.
1. Foster kids are just kids.
Foster kids want what any other kid wants: to be loved, accepted, and safe. Due to their past trauma they may find it difficult to trust, and act out in ways that say they don’t want to be loved. It takes more work to bond with a child from foster care, but it is worth it. It’s important to listen to a child’s full report and all the child’s needs before accepting a placement.
2. Foster kids have a propensity to be more emotional.
They are generally behind in their emotional growth due to neglect, abuse, and substance abuse. It’s important to nurture them at their emotional level and not at their chronological age. That includes going to the extremes to make sure their emotional needs are met. That could mean more holding, carrying, cuddling. It may even go as far as hand feeding, or bottle feeding, your 10-year-old. If the emotional needs were unmet as an infant or toddler, it can be vital to their emotional health to receive that nurturing now.
3. Some foster kids come with higher needs and more diagnoses.
It’s not always easy to parent children from foster care. You will know your limits, and it’s very important to see the whole picture. You’ll want to consider the services that are offered in your area, or in some cases, consider moving to another area to serve your child’s needs.
4. Sometimes it’s just not possible to parent.
There are times that no matter how much you love a child, no matter how much counseling or interventions, it just won’t be possible to parent them in your home. When it becomes unsafe for other members of the family, or themselves, it may be necessary to find other living solutions for a child. While this seems unfathomable, it may be the best thing you can do for your child.
5. It takes time to adjust.
And sometimes it means that you need to adjust to meet them, not the other way around. I was originally very resistant to changing myself to accommodate a child, but with time, I’ve learned that not only is it necessary, it’s a wonderful challenge. I have learned to accept them where they are. I believe that while I still make mistakes, I am becoming a better parent.
Adopting children with a history of trauma can be extremely challenging. But it is also a wonderfully rewarding process as well. While my children are young, and I may someday change my mind, I hope to give them the tools that they need to succeed and exceed all the expectations put upon them. There is no magic wand, but we have committed to do whatever we can, for all our children to be the most successful version of themselves.