Life as a Writer, Disney World Cast Member, and
Big Sister through Foster Care & Adoption
Welcome back to Taylor Talks!
Tonight, I was having a conversation with my parents about the difficulties that come with trying to teach a foster child. Taking in a child at any age poses some questions regarding how to teach them. What do they already know? What do they need to know?
Teaching a child is not just about how to add or read. You probably don't even realize how much you teach to the children in your life on a daily basis, starting from the time they're infants. From coos of "Hi pretty baby," to repeating your name over and over in hopes of that being the baby's first word, you're strengthening an infant's listening abilities and preparing them for speech. A toddler grows up knowing where to go when you say it's dinner time, or which direction to run from when you say it's time for bed. It's all second nature; you don't walk around telling your two-year-old that you're walking from the kitchen to the living room, but over the course of daily life, a young child will learn so much.
For a child in foster care, the odds are stacked against them when it comes to learning. Chances are, unfortunately, that no one has been sitting and talking to these children since they were infants. No one has probably given them the full attention that they need, or really tried to teach them anything. Aside from the learning that occurs when you're not realizing, most people are usually teaching their young kids the difference between over and under, apples or bananas, or yellow and blue. Kids that go into foster care probably weren't taught any of that.
As a foster parent, you always need to backtrack and think of the most basic parts of life that a child knows. How many cookies are there if you put 2 cookies on the table? If it's snowing out, do you put on a bathing suit or a coat? If you're hungry, do you want food or a drink? You need to go back and teach a new foster child which room is the bathroom and which is the living room. Tell them that their new brother is a boy, and their new sister is a girl. A shirt goes on your upper body and pants go over your legs. A dog barks, and a cow moos, and people will forever be asking why the chicken crossed the road. These kids need to learn as much as they can from their foster parents, because when they leave that house for the last time, there's no guaranteeing that they'll be taught anything else from their bio parents. You're the best resource that foster child has, so you need to make the most of it while you can. And when you get frustrated because they say that the sky is brown? Well in the words of my mom, at least they're naming a color and not saying that the sky is 3.
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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.