November is National Adoption Awareness Month! Find new ways to celebrate--featuring a great idea each day for the entire month of November--with our Adoption Month calendar of ideas. And what a great month to share your story! We'd love to read about how you and your family celebrated, supported, or advocated National Adoption Awareness Month. We are looking for real stories from all members of the adoption triad--not solely limited to National Adoption Awareness Month stories, but can be anything from your journey as an adult adoptee to single parent experiences. This month is about opening up, sharing, giving back, reaching out, supporting, and participating. If you have a real life story to share with us, please submit it here.
For many foster children--and even for some foster parents--foster care can be scary and intimidating. For many foster care children, stability isn't a term they would use to describe their current situations. They may feel that they are just a number and not an individual. They may feel lost in the chaos and uncertainty of life. But helping your foster child create a foster lifebook can help immensely. Let's start with the basics.
What is a Lifebook? A foster lifebook is a mix between a journal, a scrapbook, and a memory book. Keep in mind throughout this creation process that there isn't one right way to create a foster lifebook. Let your foster child get creative, and let both of you enjoy the process of creating and remembering.
How to Begin: First, talk with your foster child. Understand his or her story, troubles, hopes, fears, dreams, and goals. Once you know these things, you will have better direction on the best way to create a lifebook and what should be included.
Contents: Keep in mind that this can be different for each child. However, here are some of the more common contents in a foster child's lifebook.
How It Helps: Lifebooks are a fantastic way to encourage positive thinking within your foster home. It can help your foster child to realize his or her self-worth and importance to your family, his or her own life, and the world. It provides a convenient source of all the good things in his or her life-an easy, happy reference. It can also show your foster child how much he or she has progressed through life, goals, school, and personality. Sometimes one doesn't know how far they've come until they've seen where they've been.
The Future: As you help and encourage your foster child to create a foster lifebook, make sure to leave many blank pages in the back of the book. Let your foster child know that he or she is important, and you want him or her to continue to fill in that lifebook. It is a constant reminder that life is full of ups and downs, positives and negatives, but that he or she should dwell on the positive things in life or how far he or she has progressed.
Creating a foster lifebook with your foster child is not only helpful to your child but it can strengthen your relationship, and it can provide another great, happy memory to add to the book. Take the time needed to create a lifebook for each of your foster children. It will be something you'll both cherish for many years to come.
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When we get a placement, we leave it up to each child what they will call us. We introduce ourselves by using our first names. After that, it is up the child what to call us (I guess within reason-no foul language). Every child that has come through our home has called us Mom and Dad. [more]
"My husband and I started fostering children in 2002. Our first foster child was a 6 year old Hispanic boy. Months later we also got his two sisters, ages 3 and 5. We fell in love with these children and wanted to preserve their heritage in the Hispanic community. In turn, we came to love the Hispanic culture. After 13 months in our home, the children were moved to an adoptive home. Unfortunatly we were not allowed to keep contact with them; to this day we still miss those children. My husband and I are people of faith, and we began to pray that God would send us a Hispanic son to adopt. Three years later the Lord blessed us big time with our new son Samuel. Sam was abandoned at the hospital right after birth. We received a call from foster placement and we took Sam in as an emeregency placement, little did we know at the time this was the son we had asked God for. We really did not expect a newborn baby, it just doesn't happen that way in foster care. But God heard our prayers and He answered them. Only two weeks ago our adoption was finalized and now Sam is all ours. Since he was abandoned, he wasn't given a name, so we got to name him and Samuel, meaning 'asked of God'!" - Scott and Lynny
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