Beginning a journey as a foster care family is no small feat. It’s downright heroic when you really think about it. Any act that requires such bravery should be applauded and supported, and a family who will rally around the idea can contribute to its success. But how do you prepare the extended family for an adventure that they may not fully understand?
SHARE YOUR HEART
Many times extended family stands at a distance because they don’t want to infringe on our privacy, or they may feel disconnected from the thought process that led you to make such a life-changing decision. Take some time to share that process with them. Share what moved your heart for these children, as well as how you became aware of the need in your community. Invite them to take part in something that means a lot to you.
By the time you embark on a foster care endeavor, you’ve had lots of training and preparation. Most extended families have not. Hopefully, through your training, you’ve learned a lot more about what to expect. It’s important to share that information with trusted family members. They will need a brief course on how to approach the situation, as well as ideas on what you expect from them. Being specific about what is helpful and what is not helpful keeps everyone on the same page. Laying out clear expectations will not only help prepare extended family but will also set up a healthier situation for the children to enter into.
The value of patience on this journey cannot be overstated. You’ll need patience with yourself, patience with children in foster care, and certainly patience with family. One Key to exhibiting patience is to align your expectations with reality. It takes time to bond with others. The extended family will have less time with the children than you do, so they may need a little more time to form a meaningful bond. Go at the pace that works best for everyone and be prepared to take it slow.
Incorporating foster care into families is a beautiful thing, but will be bumps in the road. They may be some minor issues that you need to communicate about. There may be times when you need to reach out for a little more help. Thinking through those potential scenarios ahead of time will result in quicker resolution and a smoother transition. We are here to support you, please contact us today to learn more.