Purpose: Honors the past, and the child/youth's journey and out-of-home placements with and without siblings. Also validates feelings associated with being placed together and/or separately.
Materials Needed: 8.5 x 11 card stock cut outs of houses, each labeled with the name and address of each home the children have lived in (preferably with a picture of each family, whether birth or foster).
Getting Started: Lay each cut out house on the floor in a Lifemap pattern. The Lifemap should follow each child's placement. If a sibling was separated from the others in a different home, place that home next to the sibling's home. Explain to the children that they started out in their birth parents home (or wherever their first placement was) and show how they moved from one home to the next with their siblings. If there was a separation, ask the separated child to step to their separate home. When reunited, ask all the children to step back together on the home where they were reunited. With each step to another home, discuss how it felt to move to another home. Discuss memories of that foster home/family. Discuss how each child felt about being placed together/separate/reunited. Explain to the siblings that even though they did not live together in every home, they are still a family. Stress the importance of being together.
Tips and techniques to making the activity meaningful: This activity can be completed once the worker has met with the children several times and has established a relationship with all of the siblings.
Credit: Jennifer Tregear, Diakon Adoption and Foster Care
Source: THE 3-5-7 MODEL WORKBOOK: Supporting the Work of Children, Youth and Families Toward Permanency