Introducing Christian Values to Newly Fostered Children
Family services doesn’t necessarily teach foster parents the appropriate way to introduce their foster children to Christianity and religion, and it may be a difficult and delicate subject for some families. Christian adoption agencies offer some tips that can help both parents and children involved in Christian foster care and adoption adapt, accept and respect one another’s perspective and values.
Naturally, the age of the child in foster care matters and impacts the most pragmatic approach, however some general advice from individuals that have integrated children into their Christian family include:
- Honor and respect the biological parents’ religious denomination or requests, when applicable.
- Don’t force children into doing things or participating in religious activities if they don’t want to.
- Create an environment that fosters open and honest communication, whether talking about each other’s religious beliefs or anything else.
- Treating foster children like your own means encouraging them to participate in your Christian faith activities, but don’t let non-compliance with attending church, participating in prayer, etc., warrant punishment.
- Make sure to honor and participate in any religious traditions or things that the child has come to value. Ask about these traditions and encourage the child to share stories about past holidays or events.
Some ways to gently introduce your Christian values without overwhelming the child are:
Model Good Morals
Model good behavior and practice what you preach. Try to instill love of things around you, like nature.
Create New Traditions
Integrate spirituality into daily events and activities; create new traditions with your foster-child, such as sharing a prayer before bed or starting the day with a positive affirmation.
Make It Fun
Make Christianity fun for younger kids with stories or inspirational games that convey positive messages.
“I Don’t Know”
Don’t pretend to have all the answers; older kids may question your values or beliefs. Listen, engage openly, and agree to disagree, but demonstrate and expect mutual respect.
The church can be a source of great strength and support to a child. Welcome and introduce your child to Christianity, but don’t do it in a way that makes them uncomfortable, awkward or confused. Nonprofit Christian foster care and adoption services may be able to provide information or literature related to sharing your religious values with your foster children in an age-appropriate and inviting way. Over time, your shared spirituality can form an additional bond and connection between you and your newest family member.