Ask AF: Advice for Our "Ice Breaker" Meeting with a 10-Year-Old Boy?

A prospective mother seeks advice about what to ask or bring to her first meeting with the boy she might adopt from foster care. Fellow adoptive parents weigh in.

Q: We are adopting from foster care and have an “ice breaker” meeting with a 10-year-old boy scheduled for tomorrow. I’m super nervous. Attempting to make a connection with a little boy we’ve never met before seems awkward enough, but we’ll be doing this in front of a case worker. Anyone have any advice they can share about this first meeting, or the next steps of the process?


Members of respond:

“It depends upon how much the young man knows at this stage, but we prepared a photo album for our seven-year-old daughter. It was after she had been told we were prospective parents but before she visited our home for the first time. It was a small album with photos of our home, neighborhood, church, friends, hobbies, and so on. We didn’t have pets or other children at the time, but you could add relevant photos that reflect your lives. It was a lot more fun when visits began. We went to all kinds of places with her.”

“Bring a fun game to play with him. Something silly, that will make all of you laugh.”

“Some kids feel ‘tricked’ when these visits are all about fun, treats, and play, and then they get home and it is about brushing teeth, chores, and homework. Perhaps not on this very first visit, but maybe the second, you might discuss things like is he used to doing chores? What does he like to do? How does he like to do homework—on the kitchen table, at a desk, or sprawled on the floor? Questions that will give him the idea that your home will be loving and fun, but not only fun; he will have responsibilities as well.”



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