Making the Transition Easier for Newly Arrived Foster Children

Plan an “ice breaker” or two for the first day .

We — two brothers, a sister, and I arrived at our foster home two weeks before Halloween. On the trip up from the orphanage the social worker stopped to refresh us with a glass of cider. When we expressed interest in them, she bought each of us our choice of Halloween masks, what we then called “false faces,” and a large pumpkin. Because we were anxious and shy, we asked if we could wear the masks into the house to frighten our new foster parents. Somehow, without any planning at all, they and we were suddenly playing a game of hide and seek with the masks in which, when they found us, we would ask, “Who am I?” and our new foster parents had to name us. If they got our name right, we had to remove our masks. If they did not, we could continue to wear our masks and hide again. But that was the last unplanned activity during the first weeks of adjustment to our new home.

Our foster mother had arranged for a boy my age to play with me…

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