We never intended to foster older children. You know, because big kids have big kid problems and we were only slightly prepared to handle little kid problems. The end.
But, life has a way of turning your plans upside down and challenging your perceptions. Which is exactly what happened to us. Our hodgepodge family is now made up of kiddos from ages 5 to 12. Everyone 8 and older is referred to as the “Bigs.” Under 8’s are called the “Littles.”
After less than a year being a foster family, here is something I wish I had known about fostering Bigs:
They have firsts too!
I had this silly idea that somehow fostering older kids meant you missed all of the important first milestones in their life, those essential bonding moments. Now, I’ve learned that a child’s life is full of firsts, at every age.
Some of the firsts we’ve been blessed to be a part of were first bicycle, school dance, band concert, camping trip and vacation.
One of the best was the first time our Bigs tried Sushi. It was hilarious! There were squeals of laughter and shouts of, “You try it first! No, you try it first!” They were relieved when I explained we were eating cooked Sushi, not the raw kind!
The other was the night we camped underneath the stars to watch a meteor shower. They had never been camping. They’d never seen the way a million star light up the sky when there’s no city lights around. Six kids, laying down, looking at stars. You could’ve heard a pin drop.
We’ve learned a lot from these Bigs. We’ve learned they are not so different from Littles. They want to be heard. They want to feel safe. They want somewhere to belong.
I’m glad life got in the way of our perfect plans. We would have missed so much. Because in the daily chaos and drama of our motley crew, life would be missing something without the laughter, crazy antics, and wonder of our Bigs.
Firsts are important at any age, even if it’s squealing about who’s going to try the Sushi.
Jenn Morris is a freelance writer, blogger and a mom of six (some biological, some foster). Learn more about her and our other bloggers here and check out all our foster care resources here. If you want to volunteer to help foster kids, see this list of opportunities.