March 2023Vol. 24, No. 2Tips for Foster and Adoptive Parents on Supporting Children and Youth
A blog post from AdoptUSKids provides foster and adoptive parents with advice on how to best support the children and youth in their care. The author, Jamerika Haynes-Lewis, is a journalist, advocate, and motivational speaker with lived experience as a youth in foster care and an adoptee. She shares the difficulties she experienced as a young child and what the adults in her life did to support her. The following is a sample of the advice she offers to foster and adoptive parents:
- Do your research. There is an abundance of information available to those wanting to foster or adopt, including classes and real-life stories from other resource parents, youth in foster care, and adoptees. A good place to start is the local child welfare agency.
- Don’t be afraid to talk to a counselor. Becoming a foster or adoptive parent is a big decision. Talking to a counselor or therapist, especially one that specializes in this area, can help prospective parents understand their own feelings, the importance of attachment, bonding, and how trauma affects youth and families.
- Build your network. Create and maintain connections with other families who foster and adopt. A community that shares similar life stories and experiences can serve as a source of information and support. In time, you can fill this role for others, too.
- Know that it takes time. The process of becoming a foster or adoptive parent is a lengthy one, often spanning many months, and includes a variety of steps, actions, and waiting. Having a support network can help prospective parents navigate this time-consuming process.
- Build a relationship with your child or teen. Patience is key. Be open with them about who you are and why they have come to live with you. It is important that your child knows that you are reliable and have a genuine interest in their life and well-being.
To learn more, read “What I Want Foster and Adoptive Parents to Know” on the AdoptUSKids website.