Authored by: Teresa Cocker, Chief Program Officer
I recently had the opportunity to speak with foster parents about their experiences, the impact on their families, and what they considered before applying to become foster parents. A recurring theme that surfaced was that they wondered what the impact would be on their biological children. Of course. This makes sense. Welcoming another child into your home – whether that is by birth, foster care, or adoption, is a change in your family dynamic and even with the best of intentions can be stressful. As a parent you think about the impact this change might have on each family member and try to anticipate and help them prepare for the changes – both the benefits and potential challenges. What struck me by the following testimonials is the resilience and strength of children.
“My mom and dad were worried about how having a foster sibling would affect me, but I am glad that fear of the unknown didn’t stop them. My foster brother blended right into our family when he came to live with us. He was younger than me which I think was helpful because my role in our family changed. I was no longer the youngest. It taught me to be more responsible and more of a role model. I thought of fostering as an adventure because I didn’t know what to expect, but nothing really major changed in our family when he came to live with us except we became stronger and spent more time together. I also learned that he had a very different type of life than I did, and I felt sad that he couldn’t be with his sisters, brothers, and his mom. He missed them a lot, so I tried to be the best brother I could to help him feel safe. The time we spent together and the relationship we built helped me realize that helping others is an important part of life. After 6 months, he got to go back to his family which was hard but happy. We still talk and joke around on Facetime, and I think we always will.” – Jack, age 14
“Our biological daughter grew up with teenage foster brothers in our home. This allowed her to have siblings and now she is an Aunt to so many of their children. It has expanded her understanding of trauma and has led her to be a influence in many of her peers lives.” – Foster Parent for over 20 years
If you have questions about what it may mean to welcome another child into your home, Norris can help you work through those questions. To learn more about how your family can make connections and make a positive impact by becoming a foster parent, call us at 262-222-2000 or visit our “Become a Foster Parent” page.