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Making the Most of the Christmas Holidays with Your Foster Children

When parents and their biological children gear up for the festive season, there are feelings of excitement and anticipation. The treasured family traditions are known and familiar, and everyone is prepared to play their part. Foster children are likely to experience this time very differently. They may be hoping to get back to their birth parents by Christmas and feel sad when they realise that this is not going to transpire. There will be a lot of your family members they haven’t met before, and they may be overwhelmed by the constant activity and giddiness of the other children.

While you want to give your foster child the perfect Christmas, it is unlikely to be that simple. You will need to prepare well ahead, so we have put together a guide to the most important aspects you should attend to.

Prepare Guests or Hosts

If you are travelling to your extended family or expecting them to come to you, you should speak to them privately in advance. They need to be aware that the Christmas holidays will not be without conflict for your foster child and that there may be some outbursts. If you have a tradition of exchanging gifts, you will make it easier if you can ask them to bring as many gifts for your foster child as for the other young ones in the family. You can be sure your foster child will be counting and seeing just how much they are accepted in the family.

Give family members suggestions of fitting gifts as they would not have a history of what your foster child’s personality traits and interests are. Giving a gift to a foster child must be well-considered and toys may not be the right thing. Here are some ideas for suitable gifts. A camera and photo album may be just the thing for an older child.

Maintaining Your Foster Child’s Dignity

You should not discuss personal issues surrounding your foster child’s background and negative life experiences. Be firm with the family that this is not appropriate and ask them to be careful not to say anything inappropriate or ask the child questions about the past unless he or she volunteers this information.

Biological Family

During the festive season, many foster kids long to see their family members. Speak to your Fosterplus agency to determine what is in the child’s best interests. It may be possible to arrange lunch at a neutral venue such as a restaurant, but you would need to know what supervision would be required.

If this is not possible, perhaps they can write letters. Keep any court orders in mind and do not use your home address on the back of the envelopes. Otherwise, do your best to reassure your foster child that it is okay for them to enjoy the festivities while their family may not have the money to do the same.

You will also be showing the child that they are not being asked to give up their loyalties to their birth family, that it is okay to love their biological parents and still love you as well.

Be sensitive to what your foster child is going through and don’t be disappointed if things do not go smoothly all the time.

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