image by imagerymajestic
It is important to keep in mind that many foster children may come from a home where they did not celebrate a particular season, nor have any traditions in their own home. What might be common in your own home may be completely new and even strange to your foster child. This often includes religious meanings for the holiday you celebrate. Again, take time to discuss the meaning about your beliefs to your foster child beforehand.
More than likely, your foster child will have feelings of sadness and grief, as he is separated from his own family during this time of family celebration. You can help him by allowing him to talk about his feelings during the holidays. Ask him how he is doing, and recognize that he may not be happy, nor enjoy this special time. Allow him space to privately grieve, if he needs to, and be prepared if he reverts back to some behavior difficulties he had when he first arrived in your home. You may find that he becomes upset, rebellious, or complains a lot. Along with this, he may simply act younger than he is during this time. After all, he is trying to cope with not being with his own family during this time when families get together. You can also help your foster child by helping him send some cards and/or small gifts and presents to his parents and birth family members.
image by Danilo Rizzuti
With a little preparation beforehand from you, this season of joy can be a wonderful time for your foster child, one that may last in his memory for a life time.
Dr. John DeGarmo has been a foster parent for 11 years, now, and he and his wife have had over 30 children come through their home. Dr. DeGarmo wrote his dissertation on fostering, entitled Responding to the Needs of Foster Children in Rural Schools. He is a speaker and trainer on many topics about the foster care system, and travels around the nation delivering passionate, dynamic, energetic, and informative presentations. Dr. DeGarmo is the author of the highly inspirational and bestselling book FosteringLove: One Foster Parent’s Story. He also writes for a number of publications and newsletters, both here in the United States, and overseas. Dr. DeGarmo can be contacted via email, his Facebook page, or at his website.