Welcome back to Taylor Talks!
The other day, I wrote about how I was discussing foster care with a woman who takes sign language lessons from me. I was just thinking about that discussion, and thought I would share some of the information that I had given her.
When talking about our experience with foster care, I spoke about the way that raising foster children is a little different than raising the children that will be with you forever (whether biological or adopted). Every parent teaches their child each and every day. Maybe it's not a specific "lesson" like teaching the alphabet or working on numbers, but every day parents teach their kids how to be people. Use a fork to eat your chicken; socks go on your feet before shoes; say "excuse me" after you burp; the list goes on and on.
Parents have eighteen years to teach their children before the kids go off into the world, and the teaching doesn't stop there. Just because a kid is considered an adult and goes off to college or work, doesn't mean that they're too old to learn. I'm constantly asking my parents for advice or help with something, because I know that I can always go to them. But with a foster child, a foster parent doesn't know how long they'll be able to teach the child. Will they be in your life for a few weeks? A few months? A year? You don't know how long you'll have with them, so you need to teach them as much as possible as quickly as possible.
With younger foster children, it's more important to teach them basic life skills than academic skills. Eventually, they'll be able to learn in school and they'll figure out how to add or subtract. But it's up to you as a foster parent to make sure that they can dress themselves each morning, and brush their own teeth. If you have a sibling pair, you teach them that if one gets food, they should always split their food with their sibling. You never know what the kids are going back to when they go back to their biological parents. You want to hope that the parents have really gotten their act together and are going to be on the right path from then on, but you want to be prepared just in case. You want those children to be able to take care of themselves and survive, no matter what happens around them.
Your job as a foster parent is to care for the children, of course, but it's also to teach them. Make sure that you're prepared to take the time each day to show the child how to buckle their pants and wash their face before bed. It's all about what they need to be able to do for themselves after they leave your home. Make sure you give them plenty of love, but make sure you teach them too. It could be the most important lessons they learn over the course of their childhood.... not to put on the pressure or anything.
Thank you so much for your continued support! I look forward to sharing more stories about my experience with foster care, and hopefully hearing from readers who have questions or similar stories to share. I'm always willing to answer questions and hear about other experiences! Please don't forget to like and share my Facebook author page as well!
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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.