It is no secret to those in the foster care world; we know that the biological parents of the kids in need are usually in a bad place. They have a past that led them astray and caused them to abandon their children when they needed them the most. As the people saving these kids from a dark world, our instinct is to protect them from the things that hurt them.
But, in reality, it is often more healthy for foster & biological parents to have some sort of relationship. Many kids, particularly teenagers, are naturally curious and want to have some sort of contact with their parents.
At the root, the goal of foster care is to eventually reunite the children and parents again, once the relationship can exist in a healthy way. Showing compassion and support to your kid’s parents should be viewed as part of your mission as a foster parent – you are supporting a broken family.
Before seeking contact, be sure and check with your caseworker. If they give you the go-ahead, a great way to ease into the relationship is by starting a back-and-forth journal with the parents. Introduce yourself, and explain why you’ve chosen to help support their children. Keep the information you share to the point, as you don’t want to over-share. Keep the conversation focused on the issue at hand, aim to instill peace within the parent.
Share stories you experience with your foster children and ask questions in return. There are plenty of things you can learn about the children you wouldn’t otherwise know. Ask about their preferences and any vital information that can help you be a better foster parent to that specific child. Send photos, and ask for old family photos to have for the children, intentionally trying to keep the family bond strong. Most importantly, let the parents know that you are praying for them and their family.
Of course, the same approach will not work for every situation. Feel things out and take and leave what you feel best complements your experience. Not all biological parents will appreciate the effort and may respond negatively. This is all about recognizing the parents’ needs on top of the kids, and doing your best to offer the support they need through this transitional period.