If you have decided to add to your family through foster care or adoption, it’s crucial that you fully prepare your children for the new addition. Before your new foster or adopted child walks through your door and comes to stay, it’s important to make sure that your family is fully ready for the change that is about to take place. As you parent your children and begin to prepare them for their foster or adopted sibling, there are a number of things that should be kept in mind. Here are some of the most important things to teach your children whilst preparing for the addition of a new adopted or foster child.
Before your new foster or adopted child comes to stay in your home, it’s a good idea to meet up with them outside of the home as a family. This can help to break the ice between both parties and is also a great opportunity for your children and your soon-to-be new family member to get to know each other a little better in a safe environment. Not only will this help to ease your foster or adopted child into life with your family, it’s also be less daunting for your own children if they know who it is that’s coming to stay. See Children’s Bureau for more details of their adoption and foster programs.
It’s important that your child fully understands the concept of giving space and being accepting of others’ needs before you invite your new foster or adopted child into your home. Explain to your own little ones that the child who is coming to stay may feel scared or overwhelmed at the prospect of being taken in by a new family, and therefore they need to be sensitive to their needs and allow them their own space to get used to things if needed.
Before your new foster or adopted child comes to stay, it’s crucial that your own children understand what’s acceptable to talk to them about and what is not. Explain to them that some foster children can come from nasty backgrounds, and they will not want to talk about their birth families or history. Let your children know that it is up to their new sibling themselves to talk about these experiences, and not to push them.
Understandably, your children may be worried about the prospect of taking in a new foster child as they might think that the new addition to the family could get all of the attention. Explain early on that they will be treated as a member of the family and in a fair manner – for example, they’ll get all of the same chores and will need to follow the same rules as your own little ones, so that there are no hard feelings. This will not only give your new foster or adoptive child the stability they need, it’ll also encourage a good relationship between them and your own children.
Above all, it’s important to make sure that all the children in your family know that they can come to you with any worries or concerns that they have.