Tag Archives: fostering

Helping Foster Children Cope with Early Trauma

Fostering Children with Early Childhood Trauma (Part 1)
It is a sad reality that some children have gone through very stressful situations in their early childhood, like being physically abused, neglected, sexually assaulted or abandoned. Foster parents should be aware of the consequences of such trauma, and what you can do to help.

Understanding the Effects of Trauma
These children may experience biological changes that significantly affect them for many years. During these critical early years, when the child should have been developing emotional control and good thought processes, he could have been in a state of stress and crisis, trying to survive. Later, the child may have immaturities of emotions and thinking, for example a ten-year-old child throwing tantrums like a two-year-old. When the child has immature control mechanisms for his emotions and thinking, severe trauma can cause the child to experience extremely intense emotions. He would not be able to cope, and the emotions may overwhelm him.

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REVIEW: The Drop Box


The Drop Box is a Focus on the Family documentary in association with Kindred Image.

You don’t have to search long these days to find tales of heartbreak. Turn on the TV, visit a news website or open the newspaper and you’ll find an endless litany of hurt and horror, at home and abroad. It’s enough to make your heart numb. So much pain. So little hope.

The Drop Box is not one of those tales.

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Disciplining Foster Children with Love

Disciplining Foster Children with Love

Every child deserves to be loved and accepted, and to experience safety and security in their family. With the love and nurture they receive from young, they will be better able to accept discipline as the loving training it is meant to be. However, growing up in a loving home is often not the case for foster children.

Instead, they may have experienced abuse or attachment issues and as a result, do not respond well to traditional methods of discipline like “time outs” or grounding. In this case, parents will likely have to think of alternative techniques to disciplining your foster children. Here are some basic principles that you can keep in mind with regards to discipline:

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Why We Foster

There are all sorts of possible ways to serve others – providing humanitarian aid, serving cancer patients and helping the elderly are just some examples. For us, it is fostering – providing a home for children who can’t live with their biological parents for certain periods of time. And we must be honest – it is far from easy.

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How to W.R.A.P Around Foster Families

Fostering is made possible not only by the families who choose to care for these children, but also by the community that rallies around them to provide help and support in a number of ways. You may not be ready to foster a child right now, but there is plenty you can do to make their journey as a new family smoother and more enriching.

Walk Alongside

No matter how strong the foster family is, or how they’ve got everything under control, they still need a trusted group of people to be there for them in this journey of fostering.

Be a listener. There will be days when the parents feel overwhelmed or discouraged. Be there to listen to their anxieties, longings and frustrations, allowing them a safe space to share any pent-up emotions.

Be an encourager. Drop a note of encouragement via a phone call, message, or handwritten card. Let them know that they are doing a wonderful job simply by giving a child a loving and secure home.

Be a companion. Sometimes all the family needs is the presence of friends who care. Offer to accompany them while they look after the child at home or when they have to go for checkups or appointments.

Celebrate milestones and successes. A proud parent will naturally want to boast about the child’s accomplishments, be it when he starts to walk, wins a competition or graduates from school. Rejoice with them and congratulate them on these achievements, no matter how small.

Respite Care

Taking care of a new addition to the family round the clock can take a toll on the parents, so giving them an opportunity to take a well-deserved break every now and then can be much appreciated.

Be a stay-in babysitter. Offer to stay over for a few days so the family can take a short holiday. This would invariably mean you should already have a good relationship with the child, where he feels safe and comfortable with you.

Babysit for the day. You could also volunteer to look after the child during the day. Taking over typical parenting responsibilities like feeding the child, putting him to sleep or helping with his homework can make a big difference.

Take the child for outings. You don’t necessarily have to babysit at home – occasionally taking the child out would be fun and beneficial too. Be it to the zoo, the park or just the playground, children of any age usually enjoy exploring new places and getting out of the house. This way, the parents will get some downtime for themselves, too.

Acts of Service

Families who decide to foster are usually mentally prepared for the added responsibility, but the daily grind of household activities and child-minding duties can still overwhelm. Serving the family in small, practical ways can go a long way.

Bake or cook for them. Though buying food from the nearby coffee shop doesn’t take a lot of time, nothing beats a home-cooked meal made with love. Cook a meal (or meals) for them to enjoy in the comfort of their own home, or bake some cookies for the child’s birthday party or simply to brighten up their day.

Help around the house. Does the family need help with washing the never-ending pile of clothes, cleaning the toilet, or mopping the floor? Offer to do these daily household chores for them so that they have one less concern to think about.

Provide tuition for free. Tuition is an additional expense that some families struggle to afford, so offering to tutor the child free-of-charge would be much appreciated. This will also allow you to build a relationship with the child, opening the door for you to provide help in other ways.

Practical Necessities

Family expenses will definitely increase, especially if the child has existing medical conditions or special needs. Other than offering physical help, you can also provide for the families’ material needs.

Support them financially. If accepting cash may raise several questions for the foster family as to the reason for the gift, giving vouchers for the purchase of specific items like groceries, books or stationary might be a better option. Alternatively, offer to sponsor certain needs, like the installation of window grilles for their home.

Donate required items. Help obtain items that you know the family needs for their new child, such as a baby crib or school bag. Brand-new purchases aren’t always a must – you could source them second-hand or even pass them your hand-me-downs, so long as they are of acceptable condition.

Shop for them. With an additional child to look after, time to do even simple grocery shopping can be scarce. Ask them for a list of household items and foodstuff they require and make the trip to the supermarket to get those items on their behalf.

These are just some of the little ways you can play your part to care and support the many children in need of foster care. Every little act of kindness matters, as we collectively become the “village” that raises a child.

10 Reasons Why You Won’t Foster

There are many children in immediate need of a loving and stable family, and even more who need not stay in an institutionalized Children’s Home if there was a family willing to take them in.

But, surely, fostering isn’t for everyone!

Ever had these reasons run through your mind?

1.      I’d rather adopt.

Of course I would want to “save a homeless child”, but fostering is only a temporary arrangement. How much help could we afford a child if that assistance were to be cut short at any time?

2.      I didn’t even want children.

Not everyone is endowed with the gift and ability to care for kids. My spouse and I planned not to have kids of our own, so it’d be quite unthinkable for us to now consider fostering!

3.      I’d rather have my own.

If we did want children, my spouse and I would have opted to have one of our own making – our own flesh and blood. Fostering involves other people’s kids.

4.      I can’t even handle my own kids.

I understand that there aren’t any perfect children, but I’m not sure we are good-enough parents. As it is, we already feel like failures when it comes to bringing up our own children well.

5.      Got enough on my plate.

I’m already overwhelmed with work, household chores and family responsibilities, and continually challenged to find enough time for my own kids. I can’t imagine how we’d cope with an additional child.

6.      These kids have issues.

These children must be in the system for a reason. Even if it weren’t of their own choice, they are probably dealing with huge emotional issues and baggage from their family of origin. I don’t feel equipped to handle that.

7.      I can’t afford another kid.

We stopped having more kids because of the cost of raising a child in Singapore. Why then would we take on the burden of raising another child?

8.      I pay tax for the government to address this problem.

Shouldn’t this be the problem of the State? I thought that’s why we have Children’s Homes? I even donate to one of them.

9.      It’s not my calling.

It takes that special someone to open up their home to foster a child. I don’t think I have that kind of special ability.

10. I don’t have space in my home.

We just don’t have space for an additional person in our home. If we did, our extended family would have moved in already.

These reasons seem valid and logical. But what if the key to a child’s future lay in your home?

Fostering is admittedly a very personal decision that may involve some sacrifices. But take time today to explore how you can be that family for a child lacking one. And even if you aren’t ready to open up your home, you can still open up your heart to invest in helping a young person restore his/her belief in Family.