Questions to Ask Your Child’s Foster Parent or Orphanage Caretaker


Do not make yourself crazy trying to get all this information, but this list gives you an idea of the type of questions to ask. Videotape this interview for your child to have later if the caregiver is agreeable. If there is no one to ask, don’t worry about it. Plenty of kids and parents have done just fine without this knowledge.

  1. What kind of formula has she been fed? How much, what ratio of formula to water, when, and what temperature?
  2. Does she drink from a bottle? If so, what type bottle and what type nipple. Ask to see what she uses.
  3. Does she use a pacifier?
  4. What food does she eat?
  5. Is there any staff at the orphanage that she is close to? Ask to take a picture of them.
  6. How do you pronounce the name she has been called? Was she called by a pet name? Practice the pronunciation until you get it right.
  7. What is her daily schedule for eating, sleeping and playing?
  8. What are her sleep habits? When, how long, and position (tummy, back or side)? Does she sleep through the night?
  9. Get a complete copy of all her medical records, including the un-translated version.
  10. Is her birth date real or approximate?
  11. Is she frightened of anything?
  12. What upsets her?
  13. How do you soothe her? How does she soothe herself?
  14. What makes her happy?
  15. What toys does she like?
  16. How has she been bathed and does she like it?
  17. What are the specifics of how she came to be in the orphanage?
  18. Has she always lived at the orphanage or did she live elsewhere for a time?
  19. How did she get her name? Birthparent or orphanage? Does it have any special meaning?
  20. Is there anything you would like for us to tell her as she grows up?
  21. Was there a note or memento left with her when she was found? May we have it or at least a copy?
  22. Are there any pictures or videos that have been taken of her and can we make a copy?
  23. Would the caregiver like to write a note to your child? Ask your translator to translate it for you later.
  24. Is there a personal object or blanket or sheet that you can take in exchange for a new one? Try to get something that has the smell of her primary caregiver.
  25. Is there a baptism certificate? (It’s a long shot but worth the question depending on the country and the likelihood of having one.)
  26. Is there anything else you want to tell me about her?


Image credit: Ikhlasul Amal