Thursday, May 22, 2014

I'm a Single Foster Parent - What's Your Superpower?



The encouragement gift I made her
the first weekend she spent the night.
Great news!! After 6 months of being "paper pregnant," I am going to be a mom! 

A mom of a teenager...man, they DO grow up fast. LOL. 

My 15 yr. old daughter will be moving in with me by the end of this month. *happy dance* Only God knows what the future holds, so I'll leave that to Him. Right now, my focus is for our home to be a wonderful place for her to land and stretch her wings. 

I want to do all that I can to make the transition easier on my girl. I know people will have a lot of questions so my foster & adoption agency suggested I share some “tips” with my support systems. :) I hope you'll take the time to read them...these things are very important.


Tips:

  • Word watch. Be thoughtful about what you say. It is not beneficial for these children to hear about how saintly their parents must be for letting them into the family or how lucky they are to be with their new parent. Although fostering and adoption is needed, the fact is, it is needed because the child has experienced tremendous loss. These children can often be in mourning. (me - my favorite quote says, “A child born to another woman calls me mom. The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege are not lost on me.” When you meet her, just let her know you are glad to meet her and look forward to getting to know her better.) 

  • Respect their privacy.  Do not ask prying questions about her past or expect me to share background details or biological family history. Respect her privacy – she is trying to make a fresh start. (me - Since she is a teenager, ask her about hobbies, favorite things to do for fun, favorite activity in school etc...)

  • Give the new family space. The parent & child need time to bond and too many adults in the child’s life may complicate the bonding process and be stressful. The new family may need breathing room to adjust to all the changes in their family, so don’t worry if they “cocoon” at first. Remember, they don’t know each other well yet and have a ton to learn about one another. Feel free to call or text and let them know you are thinking of them and you'd like to visit sometime – and be patient if it isn’t right away! 

  • Respect their parenting methods. Parenting and disciplining children who have experienced loss, trauma, abuse, and/or neglect requires a completely different parenting approach. Many don’t realize that discipline of foster children is regulated by the state and has guidelines. So even if the parenting choices seem unconventional to you, respect their choices.
  
  • A whole lot of “new.” Remember foster/adoptive children are adjusting to EVERYTHING being brand new. New people, food, places, routines…etc. They don’t know anyone’s expectations. They often are coming from very “hard places” so have patience, be kind, and be understanding. The possessions they bring with them are dear to them in a way many of us don’t relate too. You may find they often cling to these things as a shield of protection in new situations. If they are engrossed in a toy, game, or book they’ve brought with them, it may be that their attention will be more on these items out of comfort, not out of disrespect. 

  • Embrace honesty. Ask the parents how they are doing too. Don’t be shocked or judgmental when they share struggles. This does not mean they regret fostering/adopting – it just means fostering/adoption is hard! Be their friend and encourager as they share struggles. 

  • Rejoice & pray. Share good things with the parent and rejoice with them in all the sweet little victories along the way as young hearts heal. Celebrate with foster/adoptive parents as their child learns to give and receive love as a part of their new family. Offer to pray for them because the family is experiencing huge changes.

  • Find practical ways to serve & bring community to them. The early months with a newly fostered/adopted child can feel very lonely and isolated as the parents often need to stay at home with the child while they attach and adjust to a brand new routine and life. Get creative. Bring dessert to their house, offer help in the yard or wash the car, bring meals, clean their house, or run an errand. Ask what they need and ask the parent if they need a phone call to chat.  

Thanks for reading and considering those. Finally, below is a link to a short 6 min video which I really like called Foster & Adoption Moms share. It's encouraging too. Thanks so much for your prayers and support!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1oRU5Za9uM&feature=share

Psalm:113:9 [The Lord] settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord.

No comments:

Post a Comment