Becoming a foster family is a big deal! There will be changes, but these will all be navigated as a unit with all the team on board to help and steer.
It is completely normal to feel a little overwhelmed or even nervous about the incoming changes, but bringing a foster sibling into a home will be one amazing adventure for everyone.
Whatever the twists and turns, there is a chance to create a bond with someone you may never have otherwise met and create a big positive change in their life as you do it. Everyone is different, just like you, and there are no rules for how you’re supposed to be feeling.
Take a look at some of the ways that your family might change now that it has taken on this new role.
1) Your family will grow
The first change to acknowledge is that your family will grow. Sometimes this can be with one new addition, or maybe even two (or more, but that’s a bit rarer), if you foster siblings.
So, what does this mean for you as a birth child in the home?
The most obvious answer is that you gain a new family member, even if they are with you for a short amount of time. Remember, there are different types of foster placement and so the child you welcome into your home will depend on who your family is approved to care for.
This bond, no matter how long or short the time you spend together is, can last a lifetime. Your house may be a stop on the way to where they are supposed to be or become an important part of where they belong.
The great thing is, you will be a core part of that right in the middle if that’s where you feel comfortable. There is no rulebook to say how involved you have to be.
Your family will grow, but this change can be approached as slowly as you need. The trick is to try to keep your mind open to the positives and possible goodness that fostering brings along.
2) You will have to get used to a new routine
With this new person will come a fresh routine. How you cope with changes in routine depends on your brain makeup. Some people can adapt more rapidly than others, and that’s okay. This is a big thing for everyone to work through together.
Here are a few ways the family routine might shift a little:
- An additional school run! The child might go to a different school than you. Sometimes, transport will be arranged to help get the child to school, but often it will be down to your parents to build this into the morning.
- Someone else sharing the bathroom. This means one more shower time, which might sound small but could take some getting used to.
- Different meal times, which could look like trying out new foods. For example, the child may have a favourite dish that you’ve never tried. It could become a staple in your house, or you might not like it all. Both outcomes are valid!
- Bedtimes might be a bit mixed up while things settle down. There is a big chance that the child or young person is feeling unsettled, uncomfortable, and even a little bit scared. They have moved into a new house and, just like you, are facing the challenges of the change in their personal life. Sometimes (not always) this can be difficult at night or around bedtime.
3) You might miss your space
As a birth child, it is common to feel as though your personal space has been forgotten about as everyone adapts to the change in circumstances.
While there is so much goodness that can come from fostering, it is absolutely valid that you feel as though your space has been invaded at first.
Talk to your parents about this, because being open to your feelings is not always easy, but it is always important.
You can find ways to make your bedroom a safe haven, just like the one of your foster siblings too.
4) You will gain a new way perspective of the world around you
With these changes comes a whole new world of thinking and feeling. You have a special opportunity here.
Not only will you meet some really wonderful people from different walks of life, but these people will shape and grow how you think and see the world. This experience might even inspire your career choices when you become an adult.
Being a part of a foster family helps encourage and build core empathy skills which enable you to get a bigger understanding of the world around you and all of the people in it.
It also builds:
- Teamwork skills
- Your sense of identity
- How to resolve conflicts in a constructive way
- Your resilience levels
- The child may move on
5) Your family gets stronger
One of the best things about becoming a family that fosters is that it makes your whole team stronger.
The way you communicate with one another will organically evolve around the new journey, and communication skills are some of the most valuable ones that you will take with you forever.
This is a shared experience, and it’s important that your parents give you the time of day in this decision which will ultimately be guided by them. It does affect you, and you should feel seen.
Another big thing to think about is that children move on from a foster placement for lots of different reasons. This may be difficult after you’ve all bonded and been through the time together. However, you will have the full support of your family and the whole team at Orange Grove to help you find the best path forward. There are often ways that you can stay in touch too.
Things will change now that your family is welcoming a child into your home. There are always changes to be figured out as life moves ahead. Growing up brings a number of challenges and new adventures, and fostering will be a big part of that along the way.
April 17 2023
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