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Experiences of biological children whose family fosters a child


The authors of this paper seek to find out the experiences of biological children growing-up in families together with foster child / children. This has been the first research in Lithuania with a goal to provide a deeper understanding of this phenomenon from the very own perspective of biological children.
There has been conducted a qualitative research. Two methods of defining the target group sample were combined: selection according to convenience and the snowball selection. The participants of the research were young persons from age 13 to 19 that is 2 boys and 8 girls, living in their biological families that raise foster child (children). Semi-structural interview has been selected as the main instrument for reaching the research goal. Collected qualitative data was analyzed by using the method of interpretative phenomenological analysis.
The research has shown that after a foster child comes into a foster family, the whole family life changes: interpersonal relationships, roles, rules. The foster carers' biological children go through a range of different emotions: confusion, surprise, loss, anxiety, fear, might feel neglected or pushed aside. Usually it takes quite a long time to get used to the changed situation and to a new member in their family. Frequently, if biological children are older then the foster child, they will take up a role of an older sister or brother, and the duties that accompany these roles. If carers' biological children get attached to a foster child, they will go through difficult experiences when a foster child leaves the family. It has been found out that a fostering of a child in their family is worthy: biological children learn to take care of younger children, to be emphatic, to understand other people, as well as acquire daily-life problem solving skills.


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