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The Other Side of Foster Care

By Ruth Puentespina


When the movie Shazam! came out earlier this year, an unexpected highlight was the context in which the main character Billy Batson came about his superpowers. A product of the American foster care system, Billy eventually found a home with a family that had adopted other children. Although the movie on the whole emphasizes the importance of family unity to overcome and defeat the bad guys, the reality is many foster families are suffering the ill effects of adopting children that have come out of — and are damaged by — previous bad home experiences.

Many children new to foster families suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other socio-emotional issues with limiting cognitive effects; they have no healthy way of coping with the sudden love, affection, attention and warmth given to them by their foster families. Although a thorough check to see if parents are fit to care for adoptees is often part of the foster care system protocol, there is no structured orientation on how to deal with and care for children that have come from abusive homes.

It is important for a system that offers adoption as an option to create a safe environment for new families to cope with these changes together by providing them with the ample support so that they can thrive.


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