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How to Build Trust with an Older Adopted Child

It can be time-consuming to build trust with an older adopted child or foster child. Often, these children have been through various forms of trauma. You might not be the first parent that has attempted to build trust with them. Their past experiences will have a big effect on how long it takes. Give it time though, and understand that trust is not built overnight. You must earn it through your words and actions. For example, by keeping your promises to them. Showing them respect shows that you value and trust their opinions as well. And finally, always be honest with and in front of your children so that they can see that anybody, not just them, can trust you. Try to be patient and remember that it can take time but that the journey will be worth it in the end.

How to Build Trust with an Older Adopted Child or Foster Child

Give It Time

The most important thing to remember when trying to build trust with an older adopted child or foster child is to give it time. Many foster children and children who have been searching for adoptive parents for years have experienced trauma. Just being in these systems is traumatic. So remember that trust can take a long time to build. Just be patient and always be consistent.

Keep Your Promises

In addition to being patient, you always need to keep your promises. This will go a long way in building trust with your older adopted child or foster child. Don’t be afraid to make promises, but just be sure there isn’t a possibility of breaking them. This shows your child that you follow through on your word. You can use simple examples like ”I promise that we will read a story together tonight.”

Give Them Respect

Another way to build trust with a foster child or especially an older adopted child is to give them respect. Look them in the eye when you speak to them. Ask their opinion on things. Let them make decisions about how to play or what to do and then you be the follower. Showing them that you value them as a person and value their ideas will make them more likely to trust you as well.

Be Honest

Finally, one last way to help build trust with an older adopted child or foster child is to always be honest. Not just honest to them, but honest around them. Otherwise, they’ll see that you can’t be trusted since you lie to others. What’s to stop you from lying to them? Even if you have to tell them disappointing things be honest. Don’t keep things from the social worker, don’t sneak food into movie theaters when it’s not allowed, and don’t try to do anything dishonest no matter how insignificant. If they see that you are always honest with people then you can build up that trust with them.

Building up trust with an older adopted child or foster child can be a long and sometimes painful journey. You might want the absolute best for them and want them to know that. But unfortunately, they might have past experiences that don’t let them trust people so easily. It’s a process that can take a while, but as long as you are consistent and patient, they will trust you more and more. Always keep your promises to them, no matter how small. Show them respect and they will show you more respect and trust in return. And finally, always be completely honest with them and around them at all times. Having somebody that they can trust helps children develop socially and academically, so be patient, consistent, and trust the process.

Different Types of Custody Arrangements

There are several types of custody arrangements possible when parents divorce. We often think of custody as either 50/50 or one parent getting full custody. However, there are actually more options than just those two. Joint custody means that both parents have equal rights to make decisions for their children. Kids usually split their time between their parents’ houses. Sole custody means that one parent is the main caregiver. Non-parental custody is uncommon but happens if the court believes a third party is more able to care for the children than the parents. And finally, the least common is split custody. In this, siblings are split up between their parents. There are many options for custody and each case depends on the parents and children involved.

Different Types of Custody Arrangements: Common and Uncommon

Joint Custody

Joint custody is one of the most common custody arrangements. It can look different for different families. However, it means that both parents equally are responsible for their kids. Often this means that children split their time between parents and switch back and forth between their houses. The parents must make any legal decisions about the children together.

Full/Sole Custody

Full or sole custody is another custody arrangement that is somewhat common. With sole custody, one of the parents is legally responsible for making decisions for the kids. In addition, the children live with them full time. Often the other parent has visitation rights. This is more likely to happen if one parent is unfit or not capable of child-rearing.

Non-Parental Custody

One of the custody arrangements that are less common is non-parental custody or third-party custody. This happens when both parents are unfit or not able to legally care for their children. It often means that kids live with their grandparents, step-parents, or other family members.

Split Custody

Finally, split custody is a rare custody arrangement to be awarded. Many people mistakenly use the term when they actually mean shared or joint custody. But it actually means something very different. In split custody, siblings each live with a separate parent. The court doesn’t usually decide on split custody, because most people believe that siblings should stay together. However, in rare cases, this type of custody might happen. It is more common if the children go to different schools, and have a large age gap, special needs, or disciplinary issues.

While there are many different types of custody arrangements, the most common one in our country is joint custody. Most courts feel that it’s important for children to have both of their parents in their lives making decisions for them together. However, in some situations, one parent might have sole custody. It’s less common, but sometimes children go to live with non-parental guardians in a third-party arrangement. And finally, the least common is split custody, where siblings are split up between parents. Divorce is difficult for everybody, including kids. It’s important that the arrangement be whatever is best for the well-being of the children. If you are going through a divorce, hopefully, you will find the arrangements that work the best for you and your family.

An Overview of the Foster Program

The foster program works differently in different states, however, many follow similar paths. There are many reasons why biological parents become unable to take care of children, both temporarily or permanently. When this happens, foster parents step in and care for the children until the parents can. In some situations, foster parents can adopt the children if the biological parents are permanently unable to provide a home. The fostering process typically starts with prospective parents choosing an agency. Then they will complete training and education courses. They will need to do a background check and also a home study to make sure they have a safe environment for any children. And if they are adopting, they will need to take further steps. There is more of a need than ever and fostering is a great way to change your life and the life of a child.

An Overview of the Foster Program: Fostering at a Glance

Choosing an Agency

The first step in the foster program is to choose an agency that you would like to work with. There are county and state-run programs as well as private agencies that can assist you. Find out as much as you can about the agency, and ask questions upfront about the process. If you can, speak with other parents who have also used them to find out their experience.

Education

The next step in the journey in the foster program is to educate yourself. There are many training programs and certifications to become a foster parent. You’ll likely need to attend classes, watch videos, and participate in practice exercises. Foster parents can run into a lot of hard-to-navigate situations because of the past experiences of foster children.

Home Study

Another important step when trying to enter the foster program is the home study. This is when a representative of the agency comes to your house to make sure that you can provide a safe environment for a child. They aren’t looking for reasons to ding you out of the program. Rather, they just want to make sure you’re a good fit and know what to expect. You will also need to pass a background check.

Fostering to Adopt

Finally, the foster program is about placing children with families while they wait to be reconnected to their biological parents. However, in some cases, these parents are never able to provide a home. In that situation, foster parents sometimes become adoptive parents and legally adopt their foster children. If this is something you are interested in, you’ll need to hire a family attorney who can guide you through the adoption process.

The foster program in America desperately needs more families. Fostering is an amazing way to help out children who are in need and to change both of your lives. There are many steps to becoming a foster parent, but you will likely need to start by choosing an agency. They will guide you through the certifications and training classes that you need to take. Next, you’ll need to pass a home study and also background checks. And finally, if you do choose to foster, you could have the opportunity to legally adopt as well. Consider if this is something you are interested in before you start the program. However, keep in mind that this is not necessarily the goal of fostering. However long your experience is with the foster program it will surely enrich your life forever.

Vacations with Split Custody

Vacations with split custody can be an awkward situation to manage. You and your ex both share custody of the children, and you each probably want to take them on vacations. However, it’s easy to feel more nervous when your children are traveling without you. Therefore, it’s best to work together with your ex so that you can each make vacationing smoother. Give plenty of warning about your travel plans: don’t just bring them up last minute. Discuss the details of your trip with your ex so that they feel more comfortable. Keep in touch while you are traveling to ease nerves. And finally, remember to set aside your bitterness with one another to prioritize your children. Hopefully, by doing these things, you and your ex will each be able to enjoy fulfilling vacations with your children and make amazing memories.

Vacations with Split Custody: How to Make Things Smoother

Give Plenty of Warning

Vacations with split custody are easier to handle when you have plenty of time to prepare for them mentally. Therefore, you and your ex should discuss any future travel plans well in advance. Even if your vacation doesn’t impact their schedule, you should still keep them informed. After all, you’d want to know if they were taking your kids out of town.

Discuss Details with Your Ex

When going on vacations with split custody, it’s helpful to discuss the details with your ex. Parents often worry when they feel out of control of their children. Therefore, giving them a detailed schedule of your plans while traveling can help put minds at ease. In addition, if you’re taking the kids to do something like a beach vacation, make sure you both discuss water safety and expectations beforehand.

Keep in Touch While Traveling

Keep in touch while traveling to make vacations with split custody more smooth. Let your children call and check in with their parents as much as they want during the time they’re away. This will put everybody’s minds at ease. If you have questions concerning how to handle things like pool safety or curfews, make sure that you double-check and get on the same page together.

Put the Kids First

Finally, prioritizing your kids first is the most important thing for making vacations with split custody more enjoyable. They are the ones who you should be focusing on. You and your ex might have a lot of built-up resentment towards one another. There could be a lot of pain and bitterness. However, denying your children opportunities for vacations won’t change your past. Try to set aside your feelings and do what is best for your kids, even if it means swallowing your pride.

Vacations with split custody can often become an unexpected battlefield in the post-divorce world. You might not realize how anxiety-inducing it can be to know your children are traveling without you there. However, you will quickly get used to the idea and be more comfortable with it. It can help to discuss it with your ex in a productive way. Give them plenty of notice about vacations so that you can both prepare. Discuss the details and itinerary of your vacation together and make sure you’re on the same page with safety precautions. Check-in with your ex or your children while they travel to put your mind at ease. And finally, try to remember that your kids and their fun is the priority over any feelings of bitterness. Hopefully, by focusing on them instead of your divorce, you’ll be able to enjoy your vacation to the fullest extent.

The Pros and Cons of Single Parenting After a Divorce

If you’re considering seeking sole custody, you may be wondering about the pros and cons of single parenting after a divorce. There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding if this is the right choice for you. One positive of single parenting is that you get to be the decision-maker for your children. Another positive is that your children will have a lot of consistency living in one home with one parent rather than going back and forth. One negative of the situation is that you won’t have another parent around for support. And finally, it can have a negative impact on your children’s relationship with the non-custodial parent. There are many positives and negatives to single parenting, but hopefully, you’ll be able to decide on the choice that works best for your family.

The Pros and Cons of Single Parenting After a Divorce: Dealing with Sole Custody

Pro: Getting to Be the Deciding Factor

One of the positives of single parenting after a divorce is that you get to be the single deciding factor. This is especially helpful if your ex-partner is flaky or inconsistent. If they are in jail or have mental health issues that prevent them from making sound parenting choices, you get to be the legal guardian. This means that you don’t have to run concerns by them first. You can act as your children’s sole advocate. This is especially helpful in cases where there is a medical emergency and a quick decision must be made. Single parenting means that you get to decide alone how best to raise your children.

Pro: Consistency

Another positive of single parenting after a divorce is that your children will have a lot of consistency in their lives. Going back and forth between two different homes can be very hard on kids. Especially if you and your ex have very different lifestyles and parenting styles. If you’re the sole guardian, they will stay with you all of the time and won’t have that back and forth. This can create a very close bond between you.

Con: Lack of Support

One negative of single parenting after a divorce is that you will not have the support of a partner. While making decisions alone can seem like a good thing, often it’s nice to have a partner to bounce ideas off of. It can be hard to find the emotional support as well as general help with childcare that you might need. If you work full time it can be hard to find caregivers for your children. In addition, you may have a lack of financial support to deal with as well. You’ll most likely be raising them mostly on your own money, which can be difficult when you’re used to two full salaries.

Con: Relationship Gap

Another con of single parenting after a divorce is that your children’s relationship with their other parents could suffer. It’s difficult for children to spend much less time with one parent than the other. Often it creates resentment and bitterness. Your children might miss their other parents and ask you frequently if they can spend time with them. In addition, it can strain your relationship with your kids if they view you as keeping them from their other parent. However, you know what’s best for your children and must make the decision that is right for you and them.

There are plenty of pros and cons of single parenting after a divorce besides the ones above. In fact, deciding between sole and joint custody can be very complicated and difficult. Carefully weigh the positives and negatives of each option. Consider the pros that you’ll be the sole decider on issues and that your children will have consistency in their lives. But also weigh the cons of having less support and the possible negative effects on your relationships. Consider each option and decide what makes the most sense for your family. Hopefully, you’ll be able to come to a decision that works for you and your children.

The Do’s and Don’t of Visitation After Divorce

The transition from living in one house to two houses after a divorce can be very difficult for children. There are plenty of do’s and don’t of visitation after divorce to make this transition easier for your kids. You should try to be flexible on time and schedule with your ex-spouse. In addition, always be respectful when interacting with one another in front of your kids. Don’t try to win your children’s love by spoiling them. And don’t use your time with the children to bad mouth your ex. Your children need you to remain supportive and respectful to make this difficult period in their lives a little less stressful.

The Do’s and Don’t of Visitation After Divorce: Make the Transition Easier

Do: Be Flexible on Time

One important rule of visitation after divorce that can help smooth things out is to always remain flexible. If you and your ex are trading children back and forth between your houses, there will be times when you get off schedule. It’s inevitable that something will delay you at some point or another. If you set the precedence of being understanding with one another from the get-go, it can make any situation that comes up less combative.

Do: Be Respectful

When you and your spouse are interacting during visitation after divorce, always be respectful of one another. Whether or not you believe they or you are in the wrong, it’s important to put on a good face for your children. They will be watching how you interact with each other. Showing them that you can still be kind and respectful will teach them a valuable life lesson. In addition, parents yelling in front of children can induce anxiety. And surely the last thing you’d want for your children is to be scared when they are already having to adjust to so many changes.

Don’t: Spoil the Children

Visitation after divorce is a time to re-connect with your children. It should strengthen your relationship with them. Don’t try to buy their love by giving them tons of gifts. You’ll just wind up spoiling them. In the end, if you can use your time to connect with them and build trust, they’ll be closer to you in the long run. Children should look forward to spending time with you and not just getting presents.

Don’t: Bad Mouth Your Ex

One important rule for visitation after divorce is to remember never to bad mouth your ex. You and your partner might have a very contentious divorce. But your partner is still a parent to your kids. You don’t need to rope your children into the details of what went wrong in your relationship. In addition, don’t make your children feel guilty for spending time with their other parents. You should never try to disrupt the relationship between your ex and your children. Just like you wouldn’t want them disrupting yours.

Visitation after divorce can be complicated. It’s a large adjustment for children who are used to spending time with you both in one house. However, you can ease the transition by remembering to be respectful of your ex and never bad-mouthing them to your children. In addition, try to remain flexible about timing. And remember to make the most of your time together instead of just trying to buy their love with presents. They are going through a stressful time in their lives. They need to support and dedication of both parents working together. If you and your ex can put aside your differences and focus on what’s best for your children, you’ll be able to make visitation a very positive experience for them.

Steps to Becoming a Foster Parent


If you are becoming a foster parent, you’re making an amazing decision that will improve your life and the life of the child you foster. There are so many children needing supportive foster families out there. However, the process of fostering does require some up-front work. Fostering agencies have to make sure that the parents they place children with are able to give them proper care. This requires training on the part of the foster parents. In some states, a license is actually required. Next, you’ll have an in-home visit where the agency makes sure that you’re prepared for a child. And finally, you’ll have to pass a background check. After you’ve completed all of these steps, you’ll be ready to take in a foster child and begin a relationship that will change your life.

Steps to Becoming a Foster Parent: Getting Prepared

Training

The first step to becoming a foster parent is taking a training course. This will probably cover an overview of the child welfare system and how the process of fostering works. It will help families decide whether or not this is a course that is right for them. It will also provide you with some understanding of what types of behaviors you might experience from foster children as a result of them being in the welfare system. Many children have been through the trauma of one sort or another, and the training program can help you be better prepared to help them.

Licensing

In some states becoming a foster parent requires a specific license. For example, in North Carolina, parents must complete a 30-hour course and then apply for a fostering license. Fostering and adopting are two very different things, although sometimes people get them mixed up. In states where you have to get a license, you often need a separate license if you are applying to adopt a child.

In Home Visit

After you’ve completed your training, the next step to becoming a foster parent is the in-home visit. This is when somebody from a foster agency comes to your house to check out how you live. They’ll ask you tons of questions about your lifestyle. They’ll also make sure that you have the essentials for bringing home a child. If you’re fostering a baby, you’ll need to show that you have a crib and have babyproofed. They aren’t trying to find fault with your home, but instead just getting a feel for how you live your life.

Background Check

Finally, the last piece of the puzzle to becoming a foster parent is passing a background check. Foster agencies must make sure that the children they place with foster parents are in a safe environment. Once you choose a foster agency you’d like to work with, they’ll likely order the background check. All in all, a background check keeps the children safer.

Becoming a foster parent is an amazing life-changing decision to make. It’s one that will probably be very difficult but even more rewarding. However, there is prep work to do upfront. You’ll decide which agency you’d like to work with and then begin training. Next, if you live in a state where it’s necessary, you’ll need to apply for a license. You’ll have an agent come to your house for a home visit after that. And finally, you’ll need to pass a background check. Once you’ve completed all these steps, you’ll be ready to take in a foster child and start providing some much needed support to a child in need.

How-to: Have a Healthy Divorce

Want to learn more about how to have a healthy divorce? Check out this video to learn more!

When people think of divorce, they mainly think of negative things. Yelling, fighting, and crying, are some emotions that may come to mind. But do all divorces have to end this way? The answer is ‘No’. Believe it or not, not all divorces have to be bitter messes. Learn more about how to have a healthy divorce.

How-to Have a Healthy Divorce: Changing Your Mindset

Remove the Negative Emotions

You meet someone, you fall in love, and then you live happily every after, right? Reality check. Relationships are not always like they are in the movies. You will have ups and downs, and sometimes they come to an end. Instead of choosing to be angry about that, do your best to look at the situation for what it is. Be glad you met that person and you were able to have a shot at doing life together. However, something happened, and you no longer feel that spark and love anymore. The first step in having a healthy divorce is to reframe your mindset. Recognize what has transpired and choose to be rational. Sure, going through a separation is an emotional roller coaster, but do your best to put the emotions aside. It may be a good idea to find a neutral party who can help you make sensible decisions.

Sometimes you may be getting a divorce because your spouse did something terrible like cheat on you. You can either be angry and bitter forever, or you can look at the situation from a fresh perspective. This person you loved is no longer a person who has done right by you. They have hurt and betrayed you. In reality, it may be a good thing that you are splitting up from them. While this person may have been good for you at one period, they may not be good for you anymore. Because of that, it may be a positive thing for you to move on.

Children and Assets

Of course, if you have children with your ex, this is not as simple. Unlike couples without kids, you can’t just split up your physical assets and then be done. You have to work through many things when you have children, like custody and visitation schedules. Children add another element to a divorce. However, do your best to keep any conflict away from the kids. In fact, ongoing parental conflict can increase a child’s risk of psychological and social problems. Oftentimes, it is helpful for divorced parents to come up with a plan and present it to their kids together. Working together to keep your kids calm and as happy as possible can help lead to a healthy divorce. Make sure to communicate honestly with your kids about the changes going on, as kids benefit from open communication.

How-to Handle Your First Christmas Without Your Kids

When your Christmas is usually filled with the laughter and excitement of kids, it is quite a shock when you have a quiet Christmas. With divorce, change is inevitable. Unfortunately, one of those changes may be your holiday plans. Whether it is your first Christmas without your kids, or your 10th, it will never be easy. The first year will certainly be the biggest shock. However, there are still ways to make your holiday bright. Depending on your arrangements, you may have to plan a different type of Christmas celebration post-divorce.

How-to Handle Your First Christmas Without Your Kids: Creating New Traditions

Alternative Celebrations

Your first Christmas without your kids may feel lonely. Instead of sitting at home by yourself and moping, find another way to have holiday cheer! Get together with some of your other family members so that you still get to spend Christmas with family. If that is not an option, join in with some of your friends. You could get together and celebrate with their family. However, know your limits of whether it would be painful to celebrate with other kids, especially during the first year. Another option would be to reach out to others in your same situation. No one wants to spend the holidays alone. If you know any other parents who are also celebrating without their kids, they may also be looking for a boost of holiday joy. Both of you could use someone to lean on and celebrate this year.

If your kids are spending the holidays far away from you, try to still find ways to communicate with them. Do not act overbearing and try and steal all of your ex’s time. However, see if it would be possible to do a quick video chat so you can still see them for the holidays.

How to Treat Your Ex

Make sure to be polite and respectful to your ex. Think about your kids. It is not fair to your kids if you are talking bad about their other parent. In the same way, picking an argument or being spiteful to your ex will just carry over to your kids. Instead, be positive and excited for them. Show them the joy of the holiday season, and do not send them off to their other parents with conflicting feelings of dread.

Still try to act as a team with your ex as you co-parent your kids. Do not try to out do each other with gifts. That will just cause added stress and and feelings of anger. Plus, depending on your situation, your finances may be cut as a single parent. Do not put yourself into a bad financial situation just because you want to give a more impressive gift than your ex. While the situation is not ideal, take these simple steps to make the best of your first Christmas without your kids.

How-to Help Your Kids Through Your Divorce

Divorce is tough. It is not just difficult for the parents, but for the entire family. This change can bring up a lot of emotions for kids, including disbelief, sadness, confusion and anger. They will be thrown into a new life that they did not pick for themselves. Parents should not get so wrapped up in themselves that they forget to make sure their kids are okay. Make sure to put in the work to help your kids through your divorce.

How-to Help Your Kids Through Your Divorce: Parenting Steps

Arguments

First, to help your kids through your divorce, make sure to not have a heated argument in front of them. Keep those private. Yelling, screaming and fighting in front of them are only going to make your kids afraid and upset. Constant anger and hostility between parents are a big burden for kids to carry. Also, seeing openly hostile arguments could teach your kids bad behaviors that could carry on into their adulthood.

Work to work through conflicts with your spouse behind closed doors. If you are unable to do this on your own, seek a mediator or a divorce councilor. However, for their sake, keep your kids out of it.

Listen

Listen to your kids when they express their thoughts or feelings about your divorce. Also, pay close attention to their reaction. Some kids may say that they are “fine”, but may be covering up how they really feel. They may not know how to process what is going on. On the other hand, they may be worried they will make you upset with telling you how they feel. Let them know it is okay to be upset or mad about the divorce.

Some kids may need to talk to a councilor about their feelings. This safe space may allow them to open up and talk through their true emotions. Having your kids work out their emotions and feeling in a healthy way is a great way to help your kids through your divorce.

Do Not Over Promise

It is important not to over promise things that are our of your control. For example, do not set up the expectations that your child will be able to see their other parent as much as they used to if you are not sure if this is true. It is okay to tell your kids that you don’t know how things will work out. This honestly will be much more beneficial to help your kids through your divorce than setting up false expectations.

Self-Care

Finally, make to take care of yourself. Self-care is crucial for your health. An important way to help your kids through your divorce is by making sure you are taking care of yourself too. You will not be able to take care of your children to the best of your ability if you don’t take the time to take care of yourself. Getting some exercise, eating healthy, getting enough rest, and paying attention to your mental health are great steps to take. You can not pour out love, happiness, and support if you have nothing else left to give.