Not only do parents make adjustments in their lives when a child in care enters their home, the children in the house are in for changes too . . . big changes! It doesn’t matter if they are born or adopted into the family or are currently in foster care. Adjustments come easily for some—they move over at the table, know they will have to share your time and smile—while others are still processing the changes they had to make well into adulthood.
Humor and Insight
One Wisconsin dad, with humor and insight, tells a story about his nine-year-old son. On the evening that he and his wife were going to foster parenting classes, his son said, “Dad, so you and Mom are going to be gone all night and neglecting me all evening so that you can learn how to care for other kids you’re going to bring into our house?”
This wise father knows that his son anticipates making some big changes and is probably fearing it. It’s the savvy parent who knows that the whole family will be making changes.
On the other hand, some birth children take fostering and adopting for granted. They are in a position to appreciate what their parents are doing and feel part of it. They learn their new dances in the family circle.
One woman who grew up with biological, adopted and foster siblings says, “I think I lived in my own bubble all my life. The kids who came were almost all younger than me, so I didn’t have to compete with them for anything, other than the bathroom. But that was just normal.”
She goes on to say, “I was old enough to understand the basics of foster care, so the comings and goings weren’t a big deal either. Growing up in a foster home is what it is—it’s hard to describe unless you have lived another way to compare it to something.”
Both reactions are valid. Be open to any reactions your kids may have and have some tools ready to help the family expand.