The goal is to help the child stay connected to his/her roots, by bathing the child in a variety of culturally rich experiences which affect all of the senses----seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, and tasting so the child will see themselves reflected back and give them a sense of pride and connection to their heritage.
● Talk openly about their foster care story, about the positive and negative aspects of the birth parents’ situation that led to their separation. If you do not know facts, you can say “I don’t know . . . but I imagine your birth mother might have cultural/ethnic roots in . . . ” This is there genealogical LOSS.
How to Tell a Child Their Foster Care and/or Adoption Story Part I: View Entire PLAYLIST by Age Groups HERE
● Create a symbol of the child’s ethnic and cultural background i.e. carving tools, feathers, rocks, scarves, necklaces, artifacts and create a collage of the objects to be placed in child’s room.
● Let your child know he can love or identify with positives of birth and their foster family. Be clear that your child does not need to choose between one or the other! Help your child to know that YOU are glad that some of his fine talents probably were given to him by his birth parents. Show respect for his cultural, ethnic and racial roots.
● Show respect for diversity and differences, openly talk about skin color, how we get our skin color, prominent figures in their race whom can be role models for them.
● Be especially sensitive to issues of loss. Your child may struggle, even without awareness, to mourn the loss of the birth family and culture. If she remains stuck in the grieving process, it is harder to move to a healthy self-concept.
● Educate your child, with age appropriate books/materials about their culture, ethnic and racial historical triumphs and adversities. Read books which celebrate diversity of families around the world. List of books about identity, foster care adoption HERE
● Choose toys that respect your child’s birth culture---look for baby dolls whose skin color matches theirs.
● Teach them there are many different ways families are formed. There can be 1 race, 2 races, 3 races in a family, there are no limits to forming a family.
● Make race and ethnicity part of the daily conversation at home. Watch a training developed by Jeanette about Transracial Adoption and Understanding the impact of identity. This training also applies to parents fostering a child of a different race, culture or ethnicity: