The youth-written stories in Represent give inspiration and information to teens in foster care while offering staff insight into those teens’ struggles.

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Teacher Lesson Return to "A Foster Mom Becomes Family"
A Foster Mom Becomes Family
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How Can I Help Create Family?

Freewrite and Discussion: 10 minutes
Make sure everyone has a pencil or paper. Write these prompts on the board:

—What is one activity or ritual that you think can help people feel like a family?

—What’s one thing you have tried (or would like to try) to help your family or group of friends feel closer? How did it work?

Give teens about five minutes to freewrite their responses. (They will not have to turn them in.) Then invite anyone who wants to share to read their response aloud.

Read the Story: 10 minutes
As a group, read “A Foster Mom Becomes Family” on p. 25, aloud, taking turns. Let teens pass if they want.

Discussion: 15 minutes
Make two columns on the board, headed “Do” and Don’t.” Ask youth to identify how the author’s foster mom, Lora, gave the author a feeling of family [included him in family game and movie nights; had family meals where everyone said something they liked about being together; called him her “kid,” not her “foster kid”; helped him with his homework; told him she loved him; accepted his girlfriend’s pregnancy without judgment and offered to help with the baby] Write these under “Do.”

Then ask group members to identify what the author’s previous foster mother, Michele, didn’t do that hurt him and made him feel unwelcome [didn’t cook for him; never came to his school; didn’t talk with or listen to him; never gave him keys to the house; didn’t tell him what was going on]. List these under “Don’t.”

Then ask them for examples of things the author did to show Lora he cared. Add these to the “Do” list [told her that she was the best parent he’d ever had; didn’t hide that she was his foster mom from other people; got a few jobs and chipped in for the cable bill; took his medicine so she wouldn’t worry; cleaned the house and did errands].

Closing: 5 minutes
Ask each teen to write down one family activity or ritual—either something that was mentioned today or something else they’ve thought of—that they’d like to try doing with their family (or family of choice) in the coming weeks.
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