Life as a Writer, Disney World Cast Member, and
Big Sister through Foster Care & Adoption
Welcome back to Taylor Talks!
I don't know if I've ever talked about the way we explain foster care to our littlest members of the family, so I thought that I would touch on that tonight.
When you're dealing with small children, you can't really explain what foster care is. You can't exactly tell a four-year-old that some parents are doing drugs and neglecting their children. So instead, you explain the idea of taking care of children in a way that these kids can understand.
Our go-to explanation is that we're taking care of kids because their mommies and daddies are sick and can't take care of them right now. Kids can relate to sickness; this answer is usually sufficient enough to satisfy any curiosity. Even with the most inquisitive kids, a simple conversation about how we're helping to take care of a child until their mom or dad feels better will be a good enough explanation.
Sometimes it's hard to explain such mature information to a child. Foster care isn't simple; it's messy and complicated, and the reasons for children being put into the system are certainly not child-friendly. But you need to tell your own kids something before a foster child shows up at your house. They need to be prepared for what is to come, and for that fact that your whole life is about to be turned upside down. It's really important to have a conversation about what's to come before a child is brought to your home.
I think that it's also really important to let your own kids know that they have a role in taking in foster children as well. Tell your children that they need to teach the foster child how to share, or be polite, or clean up their toys at night. Give your children a job to make them feel like they are included, especially because a new foster child is going to take up a lot of your time. The last thing you want is for your children to feel left out when the new foster kid comes. Everyone needs to feel included and part of the family, no matter how you explain it and what the situation is.
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My family has been doing foster care since I was three years old. I'm the only biological child in my family, though I now have five permanent siblings. Having nineteen siblings over the course of my lifetime has been an incredible experience, and I'm hoping that by sharing some of the ups and downs of being the only bio kid in a foster family, other foster families or people looking into doing foster care will be able to learn a bit of what life can be like. I also like to share what life is like on my journey to becoming a published author, as well as where my schooling and career choice are taking me.