Helping your newly adopted child say goodbye to his foster family, birth country, or old neighborhood can open his heart to his forever family.
By Kathy Sullivan
In adopting a waiting child, you are offering a loving family, safe home, and opportunities for happiness. While some children are excited about new possibilities, most are afraid to leave behind what has been familiar. Even the most difficult of environments offer moments of happiness. Leaving these behind can be scary and saddening for a child.
Leaving Her Foster Family, Collecting the Pieces
- To say goodbye to the past, children need to take some of it with them. Here are a few ways you can help your child collect mementos of the life he is about to leave.
- Take pictures. Send a disposable camera to your child for taking pictures of his school, teachers, and friends. If the child is too young to operate the camera, ask the social worker or foster parent to help him.
- During a visit, ask the child to show you his favorite places. Use a video recorder or camera to capture the locations and people your child shows you. Not only will this activity produce memorabilia, it will also show the child that you are interested in who he is.
- Collect a few items from the child’s neighborhood or birth country, such as pamphlets from tourist locations or newspaper clippings about local events.
- Fill a photo album or scrapbook with photos and mementos you have collected. Putting the album together can be a special activity for you and your child. Or you may choose to give a completed album to him as a gift.
- Make a collage. This is similar to the memory-keeper above, with the added advantage that it can be framed and hung up. When you identify a piece of your child’s past as special, you help him feel better about himself.
- Give your child an autograph/address book before he moves, so that he can have friends sign it. You may want to use pages from this book for the collage or scrapbook….