Bringing a new member into the family, whether through foster care or adoption, can be an adjustment for your children. Your child is most likely used to having his or her parents all to themselves. To help your child adapt to having a new family member, you can discuss their concerns and involve them in the foster/adoption process. Here are some tips to begin preparing your child for the transition.
- Teach your child to give space. Make sure your kids know that the new foster or adopted child may be upset when they first enter your home and may need some alone time to adjust to their new surroundings.
- Talk to your children about role modeling good behavior – their example will be a great teaching tool.
- Let your child know that you will listen to their concerns and that it is safe to talk about any worries they may have about fostering or adopting.
- Try to keep things as fair as possible. Make sure your child knows that the new foster/adopted child will have the same rules and chores as to not create any hard feelings.1
- Create activities for the new siblings to interact in a controlled environment. You can propose your child provide the foster or adoptive child a tour of the house or make the introduction to any pets.
The Foster and Adoptive Family Services Blog suggests having your family make a welcome book for the new child to help ease their transition into your family. This can be a family activity as you find photos of each family member, pets, and relatives to include in the book. Include ongoing family events or activities and list hobbies and traditions your family observes.2
Throughout the process of bringing a new member into your family, remind your child that this is new for everyone and to allow each family member time to adjust. Encourage your child to be open to the change and remind them that fostering or adopting makes a huge impact in another child’s life. If you have questions or concerns about the relationship between your child and your foster or adoptive child, be sure to reach out to your caseworker.
1 Prepare Chld for Foster or Adopted Sibling
2 Making Your Foster Child Feel at Home