Creating a Family: Talk about Adoption & Foster Care

Practical Tips for Welcoming an Older Foster or Kinship Child or Youth - Weekend Wisdom

August 06, 2023 Creating a Family Season 17 Episode 32
Creating a Family: Talk about Adoption & Foster Care
Practical Tips for Welcoming an Older Foster or Kinship Child or Youth - Weekend Wisdom
Show Notes Transcript

This is a perennial question that is often asked: Help, I have an older child moving in. How do I make them comfortable and make the transition as easy as possible for us all? We offer 3 tips to help you welcome a new young person into your home.

Support the show

Please leave us a rating or review

Please pardon any errors this is an automated transcript.
Dawn Davenport  0:00  
Welcome to weekend wisdom by creating a Creating a family is a national support and training nonprofit for foster adoptive and kinship families. This segment is part of the creating a family podcast. So each Sunday morning, we drop a short segment answering a question that we receive, you can submit your own questions to info at creating a just put weekend wisdom in the subject line and it will find its way to me. Today's question is a perennial question that we get something along the lines of help I have an older child moving in this could be an older foster child or a kinship child or a youth. I know that some use get insulted but when we call them children, so I'm going to try to say older child or youth. So how do I make them comfortable and make the transmission as easy as possible for all of us? And that is a really great question. So the day that your foster youth arrives or your kinship youth arrives in your home, is honestly probably the worst day of her life. Or maybe sadly, it's one of a series of really bad days. Most kids and youth, regardless of the circumstances of their removal, want to be at home. And that does not mean you're home. So it helps to start your fostering or kinship experience with this understanding. So when a child arrives, expect that they're going to have a variety of emotions ranging from terrified, angry and often guilty. No one. Absolutely no one is at their best with this stew of emotions turning around. And it's not just the new child, the kids who are already in your home are also facing a big adjustment. And if we're being really honest here, you the parents are also facing a lot of change in a small amount of time. And if you're a kinship parents, you didn't even ask for all this upheaval. So flexibility and lowered expectations are key, especially within the first few weeks as a new foster or kinship toddler youth is in your home. Now here at creating a family we are all about practicality. So here are three practical tips for welcoming an older foster or kinship youth or kiddo into your home. Tip number one, make a welcome basket. Make a basket with the following type of items to leave in the child or use room. If you already know the child you can customize this further. But if not, here's some ideas of what to include school supplies, hygiene products, hair care tools and accessories and products, fidget tools, sensory tools, things like that, games, media, something along those lines, snacks, bottled water, things such as that. Tip number two, take them shopping. A short shopping trip after your young person settles in is a practical act of welcoming. Be aware, however, that there are a few tricky elements that come up when you take them shopping one, they could honestly just be overwhelmed by too many choices, too. They may not feel safe enough to say what they want, they'll just say yes to anything you suggest. Or they may feel awkward, especially about intimate habits or hygiene type of products. And they may feel uncomfortable asking you to spend money. So one possible solution to overcoming those obstacles is to leave a gift card on the dresser with a welcome note. Another possible solution to these obstacles is to leave a pre printed list of everyday needs on their dresser and just ask them to check off the items that they need. That way. They don't forget things for one, but for two, they don't feel like they're asking for something that you didn't plan on getting them. Let's talk about hygiene habits and products. You know, honestly, that is something that really does feel fairly intimate for most of us, especially early in your relationship with them. So the best thing you can do it just model openness. By accepting that they're going to feel uncomfortable and that it's no big deal. You're calm matter of fact approach is what they need and that can help them get over the hump of that awkwardness. One idea I really like is just to keep a variety of feminine products and brands on hand in a closet in the bathroom or somewhere and let the young person know that it's there for them to use. And as they settle in and feel more comfortable. You can ask them or just notice which brands and which products they prefer. And just make sure they don't have to even ask you you can just notice and for clothing, honestly kind of look at how they're dressed and what they are gravitating to. So that you can choose a store that really is more in keeping with what they like and not necessarily what you like. Tip number three, our final practical tip, incorporate them into your daily routine. I know it is tempting to let a new foster or kinship youth or child just to settle in and not feel pressured to participate in your family's chores and daily routine. That's valid that could that could be a need, especially at the very beginning but She should also figure out how to eat them in to your family and your home's routine. Think of it as in terms of how it's different from when you have a guest visiting, we're, of course, you don't expect them to load the dishwasher or take out the trash or make up their bed or do anything along those lines. But you wouldn't feel that way. Let's say your nephew, your sister's son is going to college in your town. So to save money on dorms, he's going to live with you and it's going to be he's going to be living with you there for a while. You would want that nephew to feel like he's a part of your family. And he's going to start participating in the daily chores, your new child, that new youth that comes in, wants and needs to feel included and connected to your family. So participating together with the rest of the family and the rhythms that keep your home running is key to building a sense of family between you are are building on to that sense of family if you're already a kinship caregiver is already at family with you. So find ways to work the older child into dish duty or laundry chores or dinner prep, even better find ways to do the tour with a new child to help them learn about how you do things and how you routine and also it's easier to talk with people when you're doing something. And this is equally true for your grandchild or other relatives that's coming to live with you. Yeah, you know them of course they know you but they probably know you as grandma or aunt Sheila and aren't necessarily aware how your household functions. So we hope that these three tips will help you with welcoming a new young person into your home. And our next weekend wisdom will appear and the creating a family podcast V next Sunday. So see. Do you know that we have 12 free courses that can help you be the best parent to your kid possible? Thanks to our partners, the jockey being Family Foundation, you can go to Bitly slash JP F support and choose from our library of 12 Horses many of them will dovetail really nicely with the show this podcast go to Bitly slash J B F support that's bi T dot L y slash J B F support

Transcribed by