What You Should Know When You Will Be Fostering A Somali American Child
When you have decided to become a foster parent and to take in a child or several children in need into your home, you may find that the state foster agency matches you with a child of Somali American heritage. If you are unfamiliar with Somalian culture and would like to help your new foster child adjust to life in your home, there are some important facts you should know and steps you should take to do so.
Find Out Your Foster Child's Religious Affiliation
The vast majority of people of Somalian heritage are of the Muslim faith. However, because the child you are fostering was likely born and raised in the United States, they may or may not have strong religious affiliations. It is important to get to know whether your foster child is a member of any religious group.
Set Up a Prayer Space for Your Foster Child
If it turns out that your new foster child does practice the Muslim religion and they are seven years old or older, they likely practice what is known as salal. Salal is the Muslim ritual of daily prayer. Generally, these practices involve prayers in thee morning, midday, in the afternoon, and once or twice in the evening.
The ritual of prayer requires the practitioner to have a clean space in which to pray as well as face toward Mecca. You will want to set up a designated space (preferably one that is private) for your foster child to pray if they so choose. If they do not have a prayer rug of their own, it may also be helpful and considerate to purchase one for your new foster child as well.
Find Out If You Need a Somali Interpreter
The command of the English language that your Somali American foster child may have can vary greatly. If they are new to the country or their birth parents do not speak English, they may not speak English well. To help them in their first days in your home, you may wish to have a Somali interpreter, such as from the Language Banc, available to help you.
Additionally, if your foster child will be in contact with or have regular visits with their birth family as a part of their foster care, you may need to communicate with your foster child's family in person, over the phone, or in writing. This may also require you to seek out the services of a Somali interpreter to ensure that there are no miscommunications.
With these tips in mind, you can be sure you are the best foster parent possible for your new Somali American foster child.