Fostering is a process in which every family member should take pride. While foster parents take the lead in preparing the entire family, Wellroot provides support systems for the family’s biological children to feel included in the journey. Extending your love to the youth we serve at Wellroot can bring profound value to the family dynamic, particularly evident in the evolving roles of biological children as they welcome new siblings into their lives.
A delicate but invaluable bond your biological children can look forward to is creating a bond with new siblings. It is delicate because some children in foster care already have siblings, and Wellroot’s mission is to keep siblings together whenever possible. However, families that foster on multiple occasions, like the Barley family, grow as individuals and as their family unit blossoms.
Monica and Allen Barley have three sons and were approved to foster in 2020. Two of their older sons graduated school and moved out, but their youngest, Anthony (9 years old), lived in the home when they prepared to foster. Accustomed to their dynamic, the Barley family welcomed three new boys to their home on three occasions.
Daniel (11 years old) joined the Barley family in 6th grade and was a joy to the entire family. He was older than their son, Anthony, who lived in their home. He struggled with reading but worked hard to improve his grades.
“Daniel would read his bible at night, and we would get our novels and thought: ‘Hmm, maybe He is sending us a message,’” Monica reflects. Daniel was a positive influence on the entire family, and together with Anthony, they had a memorable time together.
The Barley’s second child through foster care, James (9 years old), was the same age as their son, Anthony. While they prayed for a perfect pairing, the Barleys utilized additional support from behavioral therapists to grow together as a family.
When James’s placement changed, they checked in with Anthony to ensure he was still on board to continue fostering.
“Anthony always wanted to be an older brother since he is the youngest in our biological family,” the Barleys mentioned. Anthony’s faith in fostering never wavered as he dreamed of having a younger brother one day.
Chase (6 years old) was the third child the Barleys fostered and was younger than Anthony. He quickly learned that a “big brother” was more than just a title when Chase would follow him around, wanting to do the same activities. Also, at Chase’s young age, he was learning to communicate his frustrations constructively.
“For Chase, we focused on teaching coping skills,” the Barleys shared. “For us, our Functional Family Therapist was coaching Anthony on how to stay calm and take a step back when normal sibling rivalries arose.”
Wellroot therapists engage each family member and ensure everyone feels heard and supported. Chase progressed and reached the point where he could communicate, “I need a minute…” when he needed a break. While Anthony developed his emotional intelligence, the family grew in patience overall.
“Anthony learned to be more assertive about his needs as a new big brother and created healthy boundaries when he needed space,” the Barleys share proudly.
Anthony’s willingness to adapt positively impacted the Barleys’ foster care journey. Monica and Allen acknowledged that successfully fostering children equips parents with new skills. All in all, the Barley’s heart for service and patience grew.
Wellroot provides support systems for biological children to feel included in the fostering journey. If you’re considering fostering, it’s essential to know that your family is providing a temporary living situation and assistance for children in need of nurturing homes. At the same time, Wellroot works to safely reunite the child with their birth parents. Many families, parents, and children gain unending support from our caseworkers, community engagement team, and Functional Family Therapists. Families gain so much when they open their home to children in foster care. To learn more about our programs and how you can support families in need, visit Wellroot.org.