The Christmas tree is up and fully decorated with all the ornaments that have meaning from the past years. The stockings are hung and the house is all decorated for Christmas along with the festivals and excitement of Christmas. While for most of us, our Christmas is built around tradition. Some foster children however, do not have this.
I have yet to have a foster child that has experienced what most people consider a normal Christmas with the Christmas tree, decorations, baking cookies, singing Christmas carols, making crafts, etc. with their biological or birth parents. This leaves most foster children unprepared for this time of year and not knowing what to expect.
During this time of the year it can be a major stressor for foster children for a number of reasons. Without knowing what to expect these foster children are like an outsider while everyone else has memories of Christmas’s in the past, and can participate, they are left watching from the side.
It is easy for us to get caught up in the holiday spirit, and all the planning for the holiday. We can take it for granted that the foster children understand what is happening and the meaning of it all. Even the small things like Christmas family photos, making Christmas cookies and sharing them with family and friends, etc. we may have to explain.
For most foster children, the holidays are a time they spend thinking of their biological families. Some want to share the experience of Christmas with their biological families and talk as if only they had this at their home. It is heartbreaking for these children to see a family celebrating Christmas while they did not have this experience with their family and they are trying to deal with it.
The feeling of being an outsider, or left out, for foster children is another major issue they are dealing with during the holidays. I will be discussing this in the near future