What impact does bringing a new child into your home have on the kids already there? Host Dawn Davenport, Executive Director of Creating a Family, the national infertility & adoption education and support nonprofit, interviews Dr. Mandy Howard, an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Samford University and affiliate of the TCU Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development. Dawn also interviews Dr. Eshele Williams, a psychotherapist and a licensed marriage, family and child therapist who is also on the Board of Directors of the National Foster Parent Association.

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Hit the Highlights
  • In the past birth and adopted children already in the foster home and their needs have been overlooked, but we know from experience and from research that one of the top reasons families stop fostering is because of their concern for how it is impacting their existing kids.
  • Some of the positive impacts on children in the family when their parents are foster parents, in addition to the general benefits of having siblings. diversity, a sense of giving back to those in need, greater flexibility and resilience, and often more self-reliance.
  • What are some of the potential negative issues that children in the home face when their parents foster?
    • Less parental time
    • Sibling rivalry
    • Embarrassed by foster siblings behavior
    • Exposure to negative behavior: acting out, lying, manipulation
    • Disruption of family functioning
    • The loss of someone they loved when the child reunified.
    • Need to be protected from a child who is acting out sexually because of past abuse.
  • Losses and concerns that are of greater concern for adopted kids in the foster family rather than biological children.
  • How to handle the issue of inequality in expectations and discipline between foster children and children already in the family?
  • Foster parents fear that their kids will pick up bad habits from the foster child.
  • Kids in the family wanting to specify ages and gender of child. Often asking for older foster sibling or same gender foster sibling. Or doesn’t want a child who attends the same school.
  • Issues to consider when disrupting birth order through fostering?
  • How does the number of children in one placement impact the adjustment?
  • How much time should be between placements if the child is staying. Between placements after the child has left.
  • How to integrate foster children into the family as painlessly as possible to form a supportive and cohesive family for all the children in their home? Tips.
  • How to prepare the children in the family for the realities of fostering. Behavior challenges and inevitable leaving.
  • What to do if a child in the family does not want to foster?
  • Articles by Dr. Eshele Williams in Fostering Families Today referenced in the interview.
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Image credit: thaths