Training foster families
Foster care is one of those journeys that can feel a little bit like a roller coaster and families have to be ready to ride all the emotions and keep their focus on making the child feel loved and valued as a family member.
The Care for Children training team recently had an opportunity to train eight new foster families in the Northeast region of Thailand. Eager to learn all they could from the trainers before their new foster child joined the family, these newly vetted foster parents had the added advantage of hearing from experienced foster carers throughout the training. They shared from the heart about the ups and the downs, and their stories were a clear indicator of how dedicated they are to the children in their care.
“Can you share with us a little bit about your first day together?”
“She didn’t want to go inside the house. She was only a year-and-a-half. She started to cry the minute she got out of the van, and she plonked herself on the ground and sobbed.”
“What did you do?”
“Well, she let me pick her up and I held her and gently patted her back and she quietened down. But this went on for about a week.”
“How did you feel?”
“I’ve got to admit it was hard and I felt discouraged, but each day I could see her feel a little bit brighter and trust started to build.”
It can take a while before the child feels truly settled within their new home. Once a child is matched with suitable foster carers, there is an important process of transition, which is integral to how they settle in and adapt to their new surroundings. This was a key part of the training that was delivered.
Children must have a transition stage between meeting the foster carers and moving to live with them. This is an important time for children and carers as they get to know each other. There should be a gradual increase in the time spent in the foster carers’ home to help both the child and the family carers ensure that they are ready for the new family care arrangement.
“How did the children know they were part of your family now?”
“I told her the minute she stepped across the threshold to our house that she was one of our family now.”
“I prepared a room for her and told her that this was her very own bedroom and I showed her where she could put her things.”
“I told them (a brother and sister) that they were part of our family, but I also tried to show them with my actions.”
Care for Children’s Senior Trainer ‘Poy’ also shared the following:
“When we did the first two-day training the new foster parents hadn’t met their new foster child yet. They had already been given some background information about the child who would join their family, but they hadn’t seen a photo yet. It was so precious. You could feel their anticipation and excitement.
“A month or two later we got to go back and do a second training and by then the children had been in their new foster families for about a month. They had passed that initial adjustment period and you could just see the pride on their faces as they told us about their new family members. It is such a privilege to be involved in this work.”
Thank you for your support and for staying connected to our work!