FOSTERING COMMUNITY BLOG
For many, the holidays are a special time filled with decorating, celebrating, giving and receiving - and maybe eating WAY too many treats along the way. We associate this season with warm memories, family traditions, and extra quality time.⠀
But for many children who have been separated from their families and are in foster care, this time of year can feel particularly lonely and call attention to their current lack of normalcy. The holiday season may remind them of their biological family's traditions, outings, home, and special gifts. It could make them long for quality time spent with their biological family.⠀
And for other kids in care, their memories of the holidays have never been particularly fond. Maybe they didn't typically receive gifts or attention. Maybe the holiday season reminds them of something traumatic that happened, which stirs up feelings of anxiety and makes them feel unsafe.
Laura, foster mom in Houston (*names have been changed for privacy) told us, “I could see Sarah's face as we decorated the tree with lots of memories from the time I’ve had Amanda (foster sibling), but nothing of hers. So I’ve tried to make it special for her since it’s her first Christmas home… I got the kids stockings, and Sarah a few of her own ornaments to give their special place. I think not having any real traditions, and all of the mixed emotions, is just a lot for these kids to process.”
This time of year can become more difficult for caregivers as well. Parents are navigating the busy holidays, changes in family schedules, events for school, work and family. Adding in the additional responsibilities that come with fostering, such as case worker visits, meetups with the biological family, court dates, and other mandatory appointments - this time can become increasingly overwhelming.
In addition to physical demands, caregivers may have to navigate increases in their child’s challenging behaviors and emotional stress brought about by this time of year, while also sorting through their own emotions. Foster mom, Savannah, says she would struggle with thoughts of, “What if this is my only Christmas with them?” and “What must their [biological] families be feeling right now?"
Raising a child takes a village, especially when the child comes from a hard place. Not everyone is called to foster or adopt a child, but there are so many ways to support the people who do - and that's what we're here for.
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