Congratulations! You’ve received the great news that you’ll be receiving a foster child; your first mission should be to find out as much as you can about your new family member. Don’t be afraid to ask too many questions. While your FCCY representative may not know all of the answers, it’s a great place to start.

Especially ask about past history in foster care before you meet your child. If you are your foster child’s first family away from his or her biological family, when you first meet, introduce yourself and explain the role you’ll be playing in your foster child’s life.

During introductions, don’t insist on mom and dad names as those probably have a negative connotation since the child was removed from that family. Instead, a first name basis is a good route, but ultimately it’s your preference together with your new foster child.

Each and every child is different. Some may jump right into your arms, welcoming a new home. However, it’s more likely he or she will be shy. Give space – let him or her adjust to everything changing. Ensure your foster child knows you are a helpful resource and available whenever he or she is ready.

Physical touch is an integral part of forming bonds with people. There is a fine line between reassurance and overbearing. For small children coming into your home, it is acceptable to grab his or her hand to lead into the house. Older children can be reassured by your hand on their shoulder as you walk into your home. Try to stray away from immediate hugs as this is already an over stimulating situation.

Read some more tips for welcoming your foster child in Part 2!