The foster mother is a single woman who had one daughter through adoption before taking in a foster child. She knew she wanted to bring another child into her family. Due to her work schedule, she felt she could best care for an older child instead of a younger one who would need much more attention. When she approached the Specialized Adoption Agency (SAA) in her district, they told her about fostering. With foster care, she could choose the age range and gender of the child who would be placed with her. She hoped for her daughter to have a younger sister through fostering.
The foster child was born to a mother who was institutionalized. From birth, she lived with her birth mother in the same institution. Her mother was receiving mental health treatment and was involved in some illegal activities. The girl became eligible for foster care and was moved to a child care institution in another district. At the age of seven, the girl was placed with her foster mother and sister.
At the time of placement, the girl was unfamiliar with the idea of family. The foster mother explained to her what it means to be a daughter and sister. The foster child had a very hard time adjusting, as do many foster children. This could have been frustrating for the foster mother, but she chose to focus on the fact that the foster child had been living in a CCI for 7 years so there was no way she was going to change overnight. The foster mother explained that she chose to shift her mindset from wanting to change her new foster daughter, to just wanting the foster child to feel accepted.
When the foster child was placed, she did not reciprocate the love and affection she received from her new foster family. She often tended to isolate and did not talk. She had a hard time expressing herself, often making faces instead of communicating with words. She almost never smiled during her first few months with the foster family. She also spoke a different local dialect and struggled to communicate with her foster family as they spoke proper Hindi.
After one and a half years with her foster family, the girl has made developmental improvements and excels socially. She now loves laughing and playing with her foster sister. She went from being quiet to her foster mother describing her as very bubbly. She now smiles all the time. Now, instead of crying or making faces when she doesn’t understand things, she uses words to communicate her feelings. For example, she used to make mean faces when she didn’t get curd or ice cream because she has a cold. Now, she understands that if she has a cold those things are not good for her and she accepts the changes.
She has had very few problems in school. She grasps a lot of educational concepts and loves extracurricular activities. She is thriving in her drawing and dance classes. The extended family of the foster mother is very accepting of the girl and treat her as if she were a biological child.
The foster mother says that she has loved taking in her foster daughter as part of her family. While the adjustment was hard, she is so glad to have put in all of the work to help her foster child feel welcome in her new home. The girl is now very happy to be living with a family in a home. The foster mother hopes to encourage others who want to share their home with a child to become foster parents.