Back to School for Foster Children

Happy Friday, RISERS! I hope this week has been good for you. Be sure to rest up, if this is your last weekend before school starts. If your children have already gone back to school, you’ve got this!

Quote of the Week: “The purpose of education, finally, is to create in a person the ability to look at the world for himself, to make his own decisions.” –James Baldwin

Movie of the Week: I really struggled to pick a movie to promote, because there are so many great ones, but I settled for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. It debuted late in 2001 and tells the tale of a boy who lived with his aunt, uncle, and cousin until his eleventh birthday. After suddenly learning that he is from a wizarding family, Harry is swept off to a new school, where he meets two unlikely friends: Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. At Hogwarts, Harry finally learns that he has others who care for him and a common group of students (Gryffindor) who can work together to win the House Cup. I love seeing the entire school year, especially Christmas, and the changes in Harry from the beginning to the end.

Joke of the Week: Why do magicians do so well in school? They’re good at trick questions.

Nugget of the Wisdom: Back. To. School. These three little words cause parents everywhere to either shout with glee or to feel incomplete. I must have been an abnormal mother, because I never cried at Kindergarten Boo-Hoo Breakfasts. I always let my children go on to school and begin the first step in their independence from me. But that isn’t what I want to talk about today.

Instead, I want to talk about sending any bonus loves—foster children who may be in your home—back to school. It is vital to remember, first of all, that as foster parents, we cannot fill that role until a child’s life completely falls apart. Keeping this in mind, it makes sense that most children in custody will be extremely nervous upon starting a new school year, particularly if they must change schools. Not only will they fear their peers won’t accept them, but they don’t want to stand out from their peers, either.

When shopping for your bonus loves, please be sure to give them the same opportunities for style preferences that you would give to your biological children. Don’t skimp on clothes because “they may not be here long.” Don’t go overboard, of course, but let them express who they are whenever possible. Also, let them choose neat backpacks (also within reason) and help them to feel confident in their style. Whether they stay for only a few months or much longer, they will appreciate the extra thought and be much happier.

Recipe of the Week: For this week’s recipe, I want to share with you the best vegetable dip recipe I have ever encountered.

What you’ll need:

1 cup sour cream

1 cup mayonnaise

1 packet Italian salad dressing seasoning mix

¼ cup chopped green bell pepper (optional)

¼ cup chopped red bell pepper (optional)

After chopping the peppers, mix all of the ingredients into a bowl. Stir thoroughly to ensure the seasoning packet isn’t hiding in clumps. Chill as desired. Serve with your favorite veggies.

Shout Out of the Week: This week, I want to shout out to all of the parents who are waiting for school to begin next week—and especially to those who are also teachers. I don’t know about you, but I never fully appreciated any school break until I worked at school. It’s funny how we (teachers, assistants, etc.) can sometimes handle other people’s children better than our own. I hope that you enjoyed your summer and know how appreciative your students will be of your classes. Remember that all students are there by divine intervention. They need you…and you just may need them, too.

Have a great weekend. Remember, you are most awesome, and YOU ROCK!

Marion Rhines is a foster-turned-adoptive parent. She lives in Knoxville, Tenn., with her husband and five children. She has written and published two children’s books as well as two foster-care-themed novels. She has a Facebook blog, Tips from the FLIP Side, and enjoys working with children of all ages.

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