1. As a foster dad, what have you done to help the children prepare to join their new family?
Our first [foster] child was actually waiting for a family to adopt. Because this kid was expected to be adopted to a foreign country, our goal was to cook at home and speak in English, so that the kid can get used to such an environment, so that the transition period after adoption will be smoother and easier.
The second child was very different. The child was a three-week-old baby. After six weeks, we knew that there was an opportunity for adoption, and the baby was matched with an adoptive family. We started to invite the couple to visit the baby, learn and understand the baby’s character and needs, and give them the opportunity to practice diaper changing and milk feeding. This period of time can help new families to enter a new stage.
2. As a foster dad, is there anything that you totally unexpected happened?
Our third child just turned four, and was in a very critical situation at that time. It was extremely necessary to have a home for this child. This was different from the previous children. Previously, every child was in the process of preparing for adoption. This one would be reunited with the birth family. I think the most important thing is that the two previous experiences helped us gained confidence. Although this was very different, regardless of age or need, we felt that we only need to take one step forward and we could make it.
It’s quite interesting, because it’s quite obvious that older children might not evoke a big reaction when someone see them for the first time, but I remember that when we held a baby for the first time, people would say: “How come we didn’t know that your wife was pregnant?” But these are all very positive reactions. The first reaction is usually curiosity, “Why is there such a need?” From curiosity to further understanding, they are very supportive.
3. As a foster dad, you have anyone around to give a hand?
What we tried to do is that every time when there is a new child, we would engage our children in the process of consideration. We would discuss about it: “Here is the situation, there is this child with this particular need, what are your thoughts?” We asked them if could join in and help as well. I think that the first thing is not to over-think. There sure will be some concerns, let us hear out first. You will then find out that the many trainings, elaborations and so on that Mother’s Choice offered are helpful. We then [understood] that the problems we earlier had were not major issues. It was also helpful talking to those with experience in dealing with different needs.
4. As a foster dad, what are your thoughts?
When you cared for a child, despite the duration, there is a strong sense of attachment in the relationship between you and the child. I personally think that our time with our children is very precious. In my memories, I have some rather vague recollections, not remembering exactly when or where, I felt that my father is carrying me and walking to a certain place, which is a sense of security. I believe that we are here for a short period of time. We are putting some seeds into the hearts of these children. They felt they are being loved, accepted and cared for. This is very precious. It does not need to take a long time. When our love for the child is genuine, the child will truly feel it.