Let’s be real, the last year and some odd time has been an ADJUSTMENT PERIOD for all of us. Job loss, displacement, scraping by, but to those of you involved with Foster Care know there’s another type of adjustment that I’m referring to…
The adjustment of a new charge in the home.
This is simply a blog, so take all advice with a grain of salt and I hope this helps in any way possible. The children being brought into your life have been through the ringer and you’re providing the first step to their adjustment… Stability.
Physical, have all the amenities ready: a clean home, good food, comfy lodging, and a welcoming smile. For most coming to you, this will be a shock so be ready for upsets, defiance, and downright breakdowns. The environment a charge knows is a case-by-case status known only to them lest the open up to you about it, so this will be a great change for them and to those you new to the Care system as well. Ease them in, reassure them‒ don’t push, but lightly press, let them know that as long as they are with you they are cared for. Foster children also change homes often like clockwork so be ready for quick introductions so you all can make the most of your time together.
Psychologically, be ready for pushback, rebellion, denial, and worse case isolationism. You must be stronger for the child in your care now if they try to bulldoze you and home, establish rules and boundaries. Give them room to breathe and get to know you, your family, and home. But if you spot abnormal behavior stand your ground and tackle it assertively. At this point in time during the adjustment you are still a stranger in their eyes and without guidance they will remain closeted and refuse contact, the best ideal here is to leave communication channels open be it to talk, spend time together, or lend an ear.
“You’re not my real parent!” Dreaded words no guardian or caregiver would ever want to hear from a charge, but sadly you will them more often than once. Be ready to steel yourself and your heart, it will be on you to assert you position and reaffirm circumstances. Be strong in your declaration, soft but firm. Assure them often that your time together maybe short, you care, and you will be there for as long as you can. And then there’s the Birth Family, no matter the circumstance this will come up and the best way to handler this is the truth. If your charge has questions be firm and kind with your words and give total honesty and if they need comfort be there.
But above all else, take due care.