Family Matters wants to encourage foster and adoptive parents in their journey to raise truly great kids. The message of grace and greatness speak directly to what you are attempting to accomplish in the lives of these precious children. For the past several years, one of our board members has been teaching the Raising Truly Great Kids material tailored to the specific needs of foster parents. In addition to being raised with 3 adopted siblings, he and his wife have been parents to 20 foster kids over the past 7 years and they adopted their middle child through the foster care system. What they have discovered is that kids that come from hard places have been deprived of a grace-based home. Their needs are considerably different. One of the goals of Family Matters is to teach parent how to think like great parents – so your parenting decisions are based upon the needs of the children in your home and not on a trite parenting formula. In many ways, the answer for many of these children is a concentrated grace based approach.
Grace Based Parenting is an excellent resource for foster and adoptive families. The message in this book speaks to the core of what these kids have missed and can be an antidote for the issues that plague them. In it you will learn that everyone has 3 driving inner needs: a secure love, a significant purpose, and a strong hope. For most healthy families, this happens naturally. However, the trauma that brought your foster or adoptive children into your life has most likely deprived them of the security they need to know that someone loves them no matter how long they are with you or where they go in the future. Kids that have suffered neglect have some level of attachment issues, find it hard to make eye contact, have no sense of their self-worth. Knowing what they are missing gives us an opportunity to go back and feed into them what they missed – like face time with a 3 year old that should have occurred while he was an infant. Building a secure love into their heart is a balm that reverses their past neglect. In Grace Based Parenting you will learn how to create an atmosphere of grace in your home and it will teach you how to approach each child’s needs in ways best suited for that particular child. Foster and adoptive families have the opportunity to recognize the deficiencies of these special kids and focus more time and attention in the areas that will transform their hearts forever.
The Connected Child, by Karyn Purvis, David Cross, and Wendy Lyons Sunshine, speaks directly to the special needs of foster and adoptive kids. (The sub-title is Bring hope and healing to your adoptive family however, this is a must read for all foster parents.) Drs. Purvis and Cross’s research at The Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University has centered on discovering how the trauma’s these kids experience inhibit their developmental, behavioral, social, and emotional growth. The result of their research and active work with kids that come from hard places is a holistic approach that will give many families the answers they need. The best part of their research is that it’s not just ideas and theories – they are hands-on in the trenches working with kids in many different forums.
Based roughly off of the DISC profile, The Kids Flag Page gives you the “heads up” on how your new adopted or foster child is hardwired, what makes him special, and why he may be unique in your family dynamic. It will help you learn the best ways to connect and correct your child. For instance, let’s say that you and your spouse are paced a little slower and lean more towards the methodical. You are getting ready to leave for church so you excuse your foster or adoptive daughter from the breakfast table and tell her to go upstairs, brush her teeth, comb her hair, put on her shoes, get her bible, and get to the car. You get busy getting yourself ready and are soon in the car waiting. Exasperated, you go back inside, head upstairs, and find her sprawled out in the hallway in front of her bible coloring the unfinished handout from last week’s Sunday school. Based upon your profile, this is disobedience and needs to be punished. After all, your own kids were all able to get ready for church. The problem is, your foster daughter is not hard-wired like you or them. She is from “Fun Country”, easily distracted and has a hard time remembering the laundry list of tasks assigned to her. For foster families, The Kids Flag Page gives you quick insight into the hardwiring of your new foster placement and will help you interact with many different kids that have many different styles.
It’s important to grasp the opportunity we have with each of these children, no matter how long they may be our lives, be it a few days, a few weeks, or forever. Experiencing the atmosphere of grace will leave an indelible mark on their souls. God chimed in on what he thinks about kids that come from hard places in James 1:27 – that it is pure and undefiled religion, that it is a true pursuit of God. You are doing an eternal work on behalf of God and He alone is responsible for the outcome. The job of foster and adoptive families is to lay yourselfaside and treat these children as if they were Jesus himself