Before making the leap to become a foster parent, it’s nice to get some insight from someone who has gone through the process before. Maybe you have people in your life who have fostered before and you can ask them for advice. If that isn’t the case for you, consider picking up one of these four books to get insight both from foster parents and former foster children.
Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter
Ashley Rhodes-Courter spent nine years in the foster care system. This book is her account of that. She bounced between 14 different foster homes, all while dealing with an unpredictable relationship with her biological mother. She switches between caseworkers and schools and has to endure manipulative behavior from an abusive foster family. This true-story chronicles Ashley’s journey to finding the courage necessary to succeed and trust, and how she was able to bring hope to so many others.
The Connected Child by Dr. Karyn Purvis, David Cross and Wendy Lyons Sunshine
While welcoming a child into your home is a happy experience, it can present a number of challenges. The authors, research psychologists who specialize in adoption and attachment, teach readers how to address these challenges and the special needs of children. The authors cover topics such as building affection and trust with your adopted child, dealing with learning and behavioral disorders and disciplining your child without making them feel unloved or threatened. While the book focuses specifically on adoption, the same lessons apply to foster parents.
Another Place at the Table by Kathy Harrison
Kathy Harrison has been a foster parent for over 13 years. In this time, she has taken in a number of children, some in difficult situations, while also raising children of her own. This book centers around three children she takes in, Danny, 8-years-old, Sara, 6-years-old and Karen 6-months-old. Each child has their own host of trauma that they’re dealing with. Their living under the same roof will inevitably lead to destruction, but it also provides Harrison with the chance to reinvent their childhood.
A foster mother, Cris Beam spent five years deep in the world of foster care looking for the answers to some essential questions: who are the children in foster care and what do we owe them? In this book, she portrays the intricacies of growing up within the system, between the shuffling between placements, the struggles between foster and birth parents and the terrifying journey from foster child to on-your-own adult. She humanizes the broken system and shows that there is hope for real change.
This article was originally published on NadavZeimer.org.