5 Reasons Foster Parents Need to Attach to their Foster Child

You bring a child or sibling group into your home for who knows how long. You don’t know very much about them. You work at creating as much calm as you can in the midst of a new normal for everyone. Parent visits, school work, possibly counselor visits, and behavioral challenges make the transition challenging.

You focus on providing as much as care and support as you can for your new foster child. Yet at the same time you guard your heart. If you have had much training, you know that your new foster child will come with some attachment struggles. But you logically reason that you need to tread carefully since your foster child will probably live with you for only a few months.

Some foster parents allow themselves to attach to a child knowing that it will hurt when the child leaves. But many caregivers keep a wall between the child and their heart. They feel that it doesn’t help anyone for the attachment to grow because it really will hurt when the child goes back home or to another family.

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We All Need a Family [Podcast 40]

I know that children shelters and orphanages serve a purpose, but we all need a family to help us heal and be the best we can be.

In today’s episode I refer to a story a friend told me about their daughter that they adopted from Ethiopia. My friend’s daughter didn’t cry when she hurt herself.

Listen to what they did to help their daughter cry. I also share some simple reminders for foster and adoptive parents. You are doing a great work!

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Warning: You Might Be Dancing the Wrong Dance

Danielle and I took dance lessons several years ago which we both enjoyed. But let me tell you learning how to dance with a partner is very challenging unless you’re just a natural.

I am one of those guys who can’t dance very well. I have okay rhythm, but my challenge is sustaining it. So I usually end up doing my own dance which gets me “the look” from Danielle.

We learned different dance steps like the Country Two Step and the Triple Two Step. We learned the Waltz and the Jitterbug. When I danced with Danielle (she is a natural by the way), I struggled to relax because I was busy counting under my breath. “One-two-three One-two-three”…or “step, step, triple step, triple step, step, step.”

When we dance Danielle looks into my eyes and smiles enjoying the sweet moment of connection. Until I mutter and squeeze her hand. Then Danielle’s smile turns into a frown. We stop; get the rhythm back in our heads and take off again until I mess up and squeeze her hand again. If this continues, we both end up frustrated ready to give up dancing.

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5 Insightful Suggestions to Help You Father Well

I recently began a podcast series entitled Dad to Dad. In these interviews I sit down with another adoptive dad and talk about what it is like to be an adoptive dad—our shortcomings, funny stories, and what we find that helps us to father well.

Recently I interviewed Marshall Lyles (if you missed it, you can get it HERE), and I asked Marshall this question—What helps you to father well? I liked his answer so much that I decided to write about it. Marshall shared four very insightful ideas that help him, and I add one more. Even though Marshall and I talk about being adoptive dads, these suggestions are helpful for every father.

5 Insightful Suggestions to Help You Father Well

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Dad to Dad Interview with Marshall Lyles [Podcast 37]

I invited my friend Marshall Lyles over to record a podcast as a part of the Dad to Dad series. To remind you, this series is me and another adoptive or foster dad talking about being a dad to a child from a hard place. We share the joys and challenges hoping that our conversation will encourage and equip you on this journey.

Many of you know Marshall as a counselor, mentor, teacher, and so on. But I asked Marshall to talk with me specifically as an adoptive dad which he enthusiastically embraced. Marshall is authentic (as you will hear from some of his self-deprecating stories) and shares with us as if we have been friends our entire lives.

Come listen in as Marshall and I share our hearts with you. I know you will enjoy our conversation.

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If You Can’t Foster or Adopt 10 Kids

Stand Up for at Least One

Let’s admit it. A stereotype exists for foster families. When I say foster, most picture the family that drives a large van or nowadays something like a Sprinter, has boxes of diapers and clothes stacked around their house, and the parents always have that “stressed but I am happy look”.

Then we say, “I am glad they are able to do that because I couldn’t”. After we excuse ourselves from fostering or adopting children, we don’t think about it until it confronts us again.

I am one of those persons that said that I could never be that kind of parent. I know that I couldn’t handle the chaos and change with many kids struggling with different kinds of trauma. I have enough of my own stuff to handle honestly.

However, in every community across our country children wait for a family to take them in either to foster or adopt.

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What Happens When One Person Stands Up?

In 2004, Bishop Aaron Blake stood before his congregation with his adopted sons on his mind. He began sharing with his church that over 30,000 children were in the foster care system in Texas and about 500,000 in the United States.

Then Bishop Blake rhetorically asked, “Who will stand with me to defend, care, and support abused, abandon, and neglected children in our community?”

Unexpectedly one lady in the back of the church stood and replied, “I will”.

That one response led to another, and another, and another standing all around the church responding to Bishop Blake’s plea to stand with him. *story adapted from CAFO blog

Watch this video as Bishop Aaron Blake tells the story in his own words. And the amazing result.

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3 Reasons Foster and Adoptive Families Will Isolate

What You Need to Do to Reverse It

In a world where technology connects people in more ways over any distance than in other time in history, we might be more isolated than ever. We seem to have lost our ability to, well, connect.

I can hear you thinking, “Because of social media and technology, I reconnected with friends from high school and college.” or “I ‘talk’ to my family more often even though we live in different states or maybe countries.”

Technology, however, will not ever replace community…doing life together. That just can’t happen via text, on social media, or in an online group forum. When you are doing relationships in real time, you don’t get to take that selfie 10 times to present the “look” you want the world to get from you.

It’s live. It’s real. It’s raw.

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Helping Families in Crisis with Amy Curtis and Jennifer McCallum [Podcast 032]

Amy Curtis and Jennifer McCallum work with Buckner Children and Family Counseling Resources. Amy leads the counseling staff, and Jennifer is a post adoption counselor.

I heard Amy speak about helping families in crisis at a break out session at a conference, and I reached out to her to come onto my podcast so we could talk about this important subject.

Foster and adoptive families get lots of training and support while they are in the process of fostering or adopting. Friends and family express excitement about the pending adoption, then throw a big celebration when the day finally arrives. Then far too often the adoptive family is left to fend for themselves.

As an adoptive family struggles, red flags appear that sadly leads many down the road to disruption and dissolution. Disruption defines an adoption that fails before the adoption is final. Dissolution is an adoption that fails after the adoption is final.

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5 Areas of Need in Foster Care and Adoption*

Have you considered what need in foster care or adoption you can meet? Or are you like I was a few years ago? I really had no idea of what foster care really was. And my thoughts about adoption completely focused on me and my wish to have a child of my own. I naively thought that if I weren’t interested in fostering or adopting then it was of no concern to me. I had a shallow understanding of the needs of foster care and adoption.

If you don’t intend on meeting a need of foster care and adoption, you really should stop reading now. Seriously, because if you read more you will find a need you can and should meet.

Looks like you are still here. I am glad!

Here are the 5 Areas of Need in Foster Care and Adoption:

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