I have never wanted bio-kids of my own, but I fell in love with a father and now I have two step-kids who I love to pieces! They live full time with their bio-mom and her family and currently are overseas because of the military, so we keep in touch via phone calls, Skype, packages, and very infrequent visits. We just got the news that they will be moving back to the States (yay!) and our visitation will become more frequent and regular. We have a great relationship, but I want them to really feel like our house is their other home, and I especially want them to have social support and friends in our community who they will be able to return to on summers and school holidays. Since they will not be able to meet classmates through our local schools, we don’t have any kids in our neighborhood, and we’re not friends with many parents, here is what I’ve brainstormed so far:
- Joining a Unitarian Church. My husband and I are not religious, but they go to Temple, and we thought the kids at Unitarian Church will be accepting of everyone’s choices.
- Volunteering as Big Sisters / Big Brothers with kids their age and introducing them when they are visiting us.
- Volunteering with a local Girl Scouts troop, as they are in a troop on their military base where they currently live.
- Enrolling them in summer camp
They will only be visiting us a few times a year, and we really want to spend that time with them, but we also want them to have friends here, so family-oriented activities are a plus. We tried visiting a family counselor to brainstorm other suggestions but she wasn’t very helpful. Any advice from other offbeat families for how to help them make friends and feel at home with us? — Sally