On Wednesday, August 9, 2018 we hosted our #FosterChat on Twitter (@SaintAorg), in partnership with the Coalition for Children, Youth & Families. August’s topic was on foster youth identity. According to our Twitter snapshot on Union Metrics, our twitter chat had nearly 125,000 potential impressions, reaching 8,501 people.
If you missed this month’s #FosterChat, you can join us next month as we discuss Foster Care Transitions on Wednesday, September 12 at 5:00 p.m (EST)/4:00 p.m. (CST). Below is our recap of this month’s chat.
Q1: What is the importance of self-identity, especially for youth?
A1: For youth to be able to develop their self-identity, they are able to shape their idea of belonging. #FosterChat— SaintA (@SaintAorg) August 8, 2018
A1: For youth, seeking identity is a major developmental task. It is important for everything, their happiness, their later in life success, their relationships #fosterchat— Coalition for CYF (@CoalitionforCYF) August 8, 2018
A1. Self-identity is everything! In order to be able to grow as a person, you have to know who you are. Being told who/what you are can be damaging. You might lose what makes you special. #FosterChat— Tina Bassett (@LIChevyMetsGrrl) August 8, 2018
Q2: What most influences one’s self-identity?
A2: Some of the biggest influences on one's self-identity includes family, friends/peers, school, environment and other social settings. #FosterChat— SaintA (@SaintAorg) August 8, 2018
How we perceive ourselves is how we create our identity. Parents and other caregivers influence youth's identity and self-esteem, as well as our friends and community. Experiences and interactions with others most influence the formation of our identity. #fosterchat— Coalition for CYF (@CoalitionforCYF) August 8, 2018
A2. Friends and family shape a youth’s identity. So does popular culture, music, art, etc. If you can, give youth exposure to a range of experiences. #fosterchat— Michelle Sieg (@MichelleSieg) August 8, 2018
A2 Self identity is influenced by many factors, but I know for me it's been most influenced by the important relationships in my life. #FosterChat— Socialworkcommunity (@socialworkcomm) August 8, 2018
Q3: What parts of a foster youth’s identity are lost when entering out-of-home care?
A3: They lose their sense of culture, community and relationships (familial + peer). #FosterChat— SaintA (@SaintAorg) August 8, 2018
A3: Youth over time can lose their history, their families, their friends, their story etc. More immediately they can lose their school, race, family, siblings, community.— Coalition for CYF (@CoalitionforCYF) August 8, 2018
A3. All parts are affected.— Tina Bassett (@LIChevyMetsGrrl) August 8, 2018
Your spot/role in your circle of friends.
Your frame of mind: no longer living in fear or improved stability.
For me, the biggest part affected was my spot in the 'pecking order', as my siblings and I were separated. #FosterChat
Q4: How can you help your foster children stay connected to their culture?
A4: Talk with your children about their traditions and work towards incorporating them. Maintaining connections to their community and relationships can also help. #FosterChat— SaintA (@SaintAorg) August 8, 2018
A4: Foster parents and caregivers can help by asking their family of origin about their culture. Be inclusive of their culture, community and family in the home. Take them to their church, ceremonies, events and family celebrations as appropriate #Fosterchat— Coalition for CYF (@CoalitionforCYF) August 8, 2018
A4: Co-parenting! It maintains a connection to their family and allows the kids a chance to interact with relatives, while seeing and hearing about the history of who they are. #fosterchat— Lamar X (@LamarXcks) August 8, 2018
Q5: How can we help foster youth stay connected to their family?
A5: Encourage and support contact/visits with siblings.— SaintA (@SaintAorg) August 8, 2018
Send/share photos of the child to parents and other relatives.
Speak positively of the birth family to the children. #FosterChat
A5: Partnership parenting whenever possible. Even for small things. Have pictures of their family in their room, attend family events. Incorporate family routines and traditions in your home. Model good communication with their parents, reach out. #Fosterchat— Coalition for CYF (@CoalitionforCYF) August 8, 2018
A5: When I was a foster kid, we had scheduled phone calls and weekly visits.— Tina Bassett (@LIChevyMetsGrrl) August 8, 2018
The rules were weird, so my Mother had to sign all my permission slips for school.
Open communication between all adults involved is key! #FosterChat
Q6: How can we help foster youth stay connected with their community, especially if placed outside of theirs?
A6: Help them stay connected by visiting their community!— SaintA (@SaintAorg) August 8, 2018
Take trips to their barbershop or beauty salon, their favorite park or library, even their church (or other places of worship). #FosterChat
A6: Take them to community events and venues they are used to. Keep them in their school and extracurriculars. Encouraging youth to stay connected to people in their home community that they had a previous relationship with (e.g., teachers, coaches, neighbors)— Coalition for CYF (@CoalitionforCYF) August 8, 2018
A6.2 Staying on top of social media for their school and groups they participate in. Talk to them about what's going on in their life. #Fosterchat— Coalition for CYF (@CoalitionforCYF) August 8, 2018
A6: stay connected to the community. Take them to different event in the community. Build relationships with people in the community #fosterchat— Courtney Sinclair (@courtsinc) August 8, 2018
Q7: What are the unique challenges in helping to support adopted kids maintain their identity?
A7: Trying to find answers that help a child know how they fit in this world, specifically answers about birth family or why and how they came to be adopted. #FosterChat— SaintA (@SaintAorg) August 8, 2018
A7: Adoptive parents must remember that they are not all of their child’s history and be respectful towards their birth parents/family. Remember if a child has had a relationship with their birth family, they may love people that you may not. And that’s ok. #Fosterchat— Coalition for CYF (@CoalitionforCYF) August 8, 2018
A7.2 Right, past things that happened that began to shape their identities. Parent have to be honest about their story, when they are ready for those parts— Coalition for CYF (@CoalitionforCYF) August 8, 2018
Transracial adoption presents a challenge in raising a child outside your own race and life experience. #FosterChat
A7: Our teen writers at Represent have written about this topic! Here's a story by an author fears losing her identity if she is adopted: https://t.co/T8GCIusFuM— Youth Communication (@youthcomm) August 9, 2018
Q8: How can we support youth struggling to find their identity?
A8: Allow the child to have choices with things they like, such as: clothing, food, hobbies, and activities. Seek out diversity in life activities. #FosterChat— SaintA (@SaintAorg) August 8, 2018
A8: Allow them to do activities where they can feel successful and build internal confidence and self esteem. Accept aspects of their identity that you as a parent or caregiver are not necessarily comfortable with, but that they need to work through themselves. #Fosterchat— Coalition for CYF (@CoalitionforCYF) August 8, 2018
A8.2 Connect youth with a mentor, or therapist that can help them navigate. #Fosterchat— Coalition for CYF (@CoalitionforCYF) August 8, 2018
Thank you joining us for this month’s chat; we look forward to seeing you again in September!
Learn more about becoming a foster parent at GrowHope.net!