A Day for Dad: DIY Gifts & Recipes

Can You Directly Adopt Children in Foster Care?

Image from UnsplashCan You Adopt Directly Through Foster Care or Do You Have to Foster First?The answer is yes and only on paper. While foster care exists as a temporary place for children to be safe, not all children in the system go back to their biological families. People, like me, adopted directly through foster care and there are still thousands of children waiting for more people to do the same for them.We Need Adoptive FamiliesMaybe you’re like me and the thought of a child(ren) potentially leaving you doesn’t make you run to get involved in the foster care system. I didn’t want that to be my reality either. That’s why I got licensed to adopt children directly from the system. Be Clear On Your IntentIf your intent is to adopt children, then adopt children. If your intent is to foster and care for a child(ren) temporarily, foster. Please do

How Can I Help? Ways to Get Involved in Foster Care

Image from PixabayHow Can I Help? Ways to Get Involved in Foster CareAdopting is a huge responsibility. Not only are adoptive families responsible for their foster child, but they also have the task of ensuring that their new member of the family has the happy and healthy life that they deserve. However, many believe that the only way to help children in need is to adopt, and this is far from the truth. There are many tools, events, and resources accessible to anyone who wants to make a difference in the lives of foster children without carrying the heavy responsibility that comes with adoption. Here are a few lesser-known but equally helpful ways that you can help foster children:  My NeighborIncorporated by the people over at Every Child Oregon, My NeighbOR is an amazing resource to help foster children. People connected to the foster care services can post their needs

Thank You, Free Geek!

Image from PixabayThank You, Free Geek!What do e-waste and the Digital Divide have in common? Free Geek!Free Geek is a nonprofit organization that has a goal of addressing both of these issues through the reuse and recycling of donated tech. A Family for Every Child has been a recipient of their technology donations, and we would like to thank them for their generosity.What is Free Geek?Based in Portland, Free Geek is a nonprofit that refurbishes and recycles donated tech equipment. A lot of people don’t have access to the technology that they need to be able to apply for jobs, communicate with others, do their homework, perform research, and more! Free Geek is able to give these people the digital resources they need for free or for a very low cost because of the way they reuse donated technology. For tech that can’t be reused, Free Geek properly recycles it

How to Normalize Talking About Your Family’s Adoption Story Within the Family and in the Community

Image from UnsplashHow to Normalize Talking About Your Family’s Adoption Story Within the Family and in the CommunityTalking about your own or your adopted child’s adoption story at home and with family and friends can feel a bit taboo. Is it okay? How do you broach the topic?Start at HomeIn some circles, adoption is kept a secret from the child adopted. But when you adopt children through the foster care system it is pretty rare that a child is young enough to not remember life with another family. Creating open space to talk with your adopted child(ren) and family about your child(ren)’s story is a great way to embrace your adopted child’s whole story.Looking for help on how to get the conversation started?First, know it’s totally okay and normal to feel uneasy and nervous. I felt unprepared, too.When you broach the topic and how you get the conversation started doesn’t

Waiting Children: Who They Are and How You Can Help

Photo by Chris Benson on UnsplashWaiting Children: Who They Are and How You Can HelpMaybe you know there are 400,000 children in the U.S. foster care system. But did you know 115,000 of these children are considered “waiting children”?Who are waiting children?Most often you’ve heard “waiting children” called “foster children” because they are currently in foster care. However, waiting children are children who will not be returning to their biological families. In fact, waiting children wait in foster care until they are adopted or they age out of the foster care system.When do foster children become waiting children?Similar to other children in foster care, waiting children were placed in foster care due to abuse, neglect or death that left them unable to reside with their biological family. But after a series of court hearings and attempts towards stability, the biological family’s parental rights were taken away so the child does

How to Prepare Your Home for the Arrival of a New Foster Child

Photo by Paige Cody on UnsplashHow to Prepare Your Home for the Arrival of a New Foster ChildGetting the news that a new foster child is going to enter your home is always exciting. It gives you an incredible opportunity to have a powerful impact on that child’s life. That starts by making them feel as “at home” as possible. If you’ve never had a foster child in your home before, the task of preparing your home can feel a little daunting at first. But, don’t let it worry you. By focusing on making your space inviting, safe, and fun, you can create the ideal environment for the child (no matter their age), and help them to feel welcome right away. As a foster parent, it’s okay to need a little help and advice sometimes. The more you’re willing to learn about what you can do, the better. With that in mind, let’s cover a

Helping Older Foster Children Gain Job Skills

Helping Older Foster Children Gain Job SkillsParenting older children is difficult. During adolescence, teenagers’ brains struggle to self-regulate as they experience greater highs and deeper lows. At the same time, your child faces more environmental stress as they make major life decisions while moving through periods of great physical change.Helping your teenager regain a sense of control during this stressful period is important. One way to help them navigate this combination of hormonal fluctuation and environmental stress is to plan for the future by developing job skills. However, talking about jobs with your child can be frustrating. As parents, the best way to move through this frustration is to be positive and proactive. Research shows that positive interactions between parents and children will improve your child’s overall competence and lead to better outcomes for you both. As such, it is vital that you listen to your older child, and try to

How to Model Emotional Intelligence for Children

How to Model Emotional Intelligence for ChildrenEvery parent or caregiver wants their child to grow up healthy, happy, and successful. And in trying to bring that all-important goal to fruition, we tend to focus heavily on education, equipping kids with the knowledge and skills they need to build a secure, stable, and prosperous life. But raising healthy and successful children is about far more than cultivating their intelligence quotient (IQ). It’s also about nurturing their emotional intelligence quotient (EQ). And that comes both from what you teach your children and what you model for them.The Importance of Emotional IntelligenceChildren aren’t born with a natural ability to understand their emotions, let alone the knowledge to process and express them. In fact, emotional intelligence refers to a set of specialized skills that many of us enter adulthood never having completely mastered. Emotional intelligence involves self-awareness, emotional regulation, self-expression, active listening, empathy, and

How Foster Parents Can Help Ease Mental Health Struggles

How Foster Parents Can Help Ease Mental Health StrugglesThere is nothing better you can do with your life than to open your home and your heart to a child in need. But doing so is both a profound gift and a profound responsibility. No matter what your child’s experience, whether it is the death of a biological parent or a court-mandated removal from the birth home, your foster child will inevitably have experienced trauma. And that means that there will be an adjustment period not only for the child but for the entire family, particularly if your foster child is one of the nearly 80% of children in the foster care system to experience significant mental health struggles. A History of TraumaIn the majority of cases, children often enter the foster care system because they have experienced significant and prolonged abuse or neglect. They may have experienced parental addiction and housing

How to Help Your Foster Kids Pass Their Developmental Stages with Flying Colors

How to Help Your Foster Kids Pass Their Developmental Stages With Flying ColorsAccording to ego psychologist Erik Erikson, all people go through eight specific stages of development. These psychosocial development stages help to determine self-actualization later in life. As you might expect, healthily going through those stages is important for all children. For foster children, however, it becomes even more imperative. Foster kids have often gone through traumatic experiences or may not have experienced a real “home” until recently. How can you provide a support system for them in your home? How can you help them pass their developmental stages now, so they can be more stable and secure as they eventually transition into adulthood? Let’s take a look at Erikson’s stages and what you can do to help your foster kids through each one. Developing Stages Through RelationshipsErikson’s stages of psychosocial development are: Trust versus mistrustAutonomy versus shame and doubtInitiative versus guiltIndustry versus inferiorityIdentity