In today’s open world, the ability to immigrate is a fast growing trend. If one doesn’t like their present situation or lifestyle, they have the option of relocating to a new place with new opportunities. For these reasons, many nations are composed of not just one culture, but are becoming a conglomeration of different people from different places all living abroad with sponsored family.
When finances become difficult or opportunity comes with limits, it is a popular choice for children to immigrate to live with sponsoring families elsewhere. A child may find himself living with a completely new family, perhaps cousins or distant relatives, or perhaps brothers and sisters who’ve immigrated before and have settled into their new community.
But there is a trick to this type of situation, mostly because a new person, especially a child, brings along many new responsibilities. Children will likely need to attend schooling, won’t be able to work, and will leave traces in every aspect of a common household.
Not just for the family, the child must be responsible as well. The child must consider himself a guest within his or her new home rather than expect the sponsoring family to be completely obligated to the child.
Consider the family members that are already occupying the household. Many immigrating children find themselves living in an overcrowded home.
It’s also important to consider that some kids may be accustomed to different lifestyles and habits. In a new household, this can occasionally become a problem while living abroad with family. There may also be a language barrier as well.
While it’s important that children get the help they need and feel that they are in a situation where they are free to ask whenever, it is often small habits and practices that can sometimes get in the way or make someone feel like a burden when moving into a new home.
Keep the load light
So how does one lighten the load your sponsoring family experiences with a new addition to their family? There are many things to consider, some blatantly obvious while others are often overlooked or misconceived.
The best places to start consist of keeping condiments, such as your toothbrush and other toiletries out of sight and avoid cluttering the household you live in. Basically, the art of cleaning up after yourself is something one should master when living with a sponsored family. Always keep in mind the many burdens and responsibilities that are often unseen and rarely discussed, such as feeding an extra mouth, transportation, and even clothing. Take care of what you’re given and always show appreciation.
You can also help out wherever you can, such as household chores. Things as simple as washing the dishes, yard care, and even simply doing your own laundry can really make a difference by lightening the load your family experiences.
What about the simple concept of “getting on each other’s nerves?” This is a big issue that isn’t normally discussed, but often goes undetected and can bring about uncomfortable issues within the household. Schooling incorporates homework, which may demand quiet or study time. This can demand space and silence to provide a quality environment for education. Be aware and respectful of these important times of the day, and consider organizing your own schedule to provide an environment that is accommodating to your sponsoring family, rather than expecting them to accommodate you.
What about coordinating time for privacy? This is especially important when considering who is going to sleep where as well as restroom availability. More than likely, you’ll have a designated domicile that you might have to share, especially when you live in a large family or large household. Don’t spread yourself out across the home or create clutter, such as messy laundry and equipment.
Finally, help others do the same for you. Communication is perhaps the most effective tool when adapting yourself to a new home environment. Be open rather than reclusive.
Stay in contact by utilizing prepaid international calling services, where you’ll be able to contact family overseas. You can ask for advice or just listen to the comforting familiarity of your home while you’re adjusting to your new environment. The best thing about international calling services is that they are easily affordable and won’t hinder your sponsoring family’s phone bills with high-cost long distance calls. It’s a great way to be financially sound while staying in contact with family back home.
When you find yourself in a new country with a new culture, it isn’t just the practices and traditions you need to adapt to. Consider your new sponsoring family and the sacrifices they’ve made to provide a new opportunity for you.
* Use this only as a guide, please seek professional help from a certified counselor that has experience with family immigration support.
**Photograph “Everybody Clean Up” by NazarethCollege under Creative Commons Attribution