When somebody you know and love welcomes a child into their life, the excitement involved is overwhelming. Whether it’s by birth, fostering, or even adoption, family is beautiful, and of course, you’ll want to celebrate, give them your best wishes, and show support for foster parents in this brand-new chapter of their story.
Often, when our loved one is about to give birth, we know exactly how to deal with it and how to support them throughout. From baby showers to gender reveals, to none stop celebrations, by now, we all have a general idea. But what about when it comes to showing support for foster parents?
Well, that’s where we’re able to help. We have plenty of ideas when it comes to helping foster families, and throughout our many years in the fostering sector, we’re now fully educated on all of the ways to help foster children.
With this information, we’re now going to empower you, so you can be amazing at it. Let’s get started.
Helpful Hints to Show Support for Foster Parents
There are plenty of ways to provide support for foster parents, and just one of them is through moral support.
Being involved in foster care is an emotional journey for all involved – foster parents, biological parents, and of course, the children. Therefore, you must ensure that you recognize the fact that feelings may differ from day to day. Never underestimate just how much letting your friends know you’re there for them through both the good and challenging times can help.
To show support for foster parents, and help foster families, the best thing you can do is to simply listen, and affirm their experience. Call, text, send cards, just check in regularly to show them just how much you care.
Foster Family Occasions and Milestones to Recognize
Another way to help foster children and show support for foster carers is to consider doing special things for each member of the family. Check out just some ideas we have listed below:
- Send your congratulations – It takes a lot of work for foster parents to become licensed providers. So, make sure you send your congratulations in the form of a card, a thoughtful gift, or even a bottle of champaign to say cheers to the new mother and father when all is said and done.
- Remember Mother’s Day and Father’s Day – Adequate support for foster parents also means acknowledgement on special holidays. Why not send them a special card with a note that recognizes what good parents they are?
Ways to help foster children settle in comfortably:
- For Foster Children – It’s nice to have a support system other than your foster parents. If you’re an auntie or uncle to a foster child, make sure you are close and always be prepared to listen. In some cases, they may feel more comfortable telling you something than they would their foster mum or dad.
- A Foster Child’s Birthday – Take the time out and get to know their favourite things in life. Their favourite food, hobbies, characters, shows, etc. Give them a gift that shows you know them, and that you also care about them so much. Go the extra mile and even offer to help plan a fun surprise birthday party.
- Adoption Day – If a foster placement results in a wonderful adoption, then it’s celebration time! Make sure you send flowers, balloons, or once again, well-thought-out gifts to commemorate the day in style.
Safety and Privacy When Showing Support for Foster Parents
Everybody needs to feel safe, and everybody still needs to feel like they have their privacy intact. That’s why we recommend that you do not post photos, names, or personal information of any foster children within your care or a loved one’s care online.
In addition to this, make sure that you also do not ask the ins and outs of the court case. It’s confidential, and only the foster parents along with the foster child themselves should know every single detail.
With this in mind, here’s what you should and shouldn’t say when helping foster families.
What to Say and What Not to Say to Foster Families
When you’re showing support for foster parents, you should definitely think before you speak. Check out some common terms that you shouldn’t say, and some that you definitely should.
- “Do you think you’ll love them as much as your own?”
- “Are you afraid they’ll be damaged?”
- “Aren’t you worried about how it will affect your own children?”
- “I could never foster…”
- Anything bad about the child’s biological parent(s).
- “Those kids are so lucky.” Foster kids have been through the trauma of being separated from their families. No matter the circumstances, be mindful that their experiences can be painful.
- “I’m so happy for you.”
- “You’re really good at this.”
- “I’m here to support you however I can.”
- “I’m looking forward to getting to know __________.”
The same applies when looking for ways to help foster children. Check out the below: DON’T say:
- “You’re so lucky to have foster parents like these.”
- Anything bad about their biological parent(s).
- Anything that assumes you know their story.
- “It’s so nice getting to know you.”
- Anything that shows you’re interested in them as a person, not as a foster child. Listening is a helpful way to show you care.
Why People Foster
There are so many reasons as to why people choose to become foster parents. For some, they simply want to give a child a better life by providing a comfortable and safe home. For others, they love to be a child’s temporary support whilst they’re trying to get reunited with their family.
The foster parents in your life may want to discuss their reasons with you, whilst some may not. The most important thing is that you show support for foster carers whilst helping foster families.
Last But Not Least… Foster Care Lingo
Helping foster families becomes ten times easier when you show them you are trying your best to educate yourself on the process. While you don’t need to become an expert on every single acronym out there, learning a few terms will help you know what your foster loved ones are talking about, and it will show you care.
- Permanency — The goal of every case with a child in state custody—to find a safe, loving, permanent home that can meet the child’s needs. Permanency might mean going home to a biological parent, being adopted by relatives, or being adopted by a foster family.
- Kinship placement —A child is placed in the home of a friend or family member they knew previously, as opposed to with foster parents they didn’t know before.
- Reunification—A child returns home to their biological parent(s).
- Respite care —Short-term supervision of foster children by a trained provider, meant to give foster parents and children time apart to recharge.
- CASA/GAL (court-appointed special advocate/guardian ad litem) —A trained volunteer who, along with an attorney, represents the child’s best interest in the case. Especially for younger children, a CASA/GAL is the child’s voice in court.