Constructions and balances of normality in the biographies of former foster children

Daniela Reimer

Abstract

For cared-for children, normality is a particularly important topic. The way in which cared-for children grow up differs from both the social norm and from average children in Western European countries. Foster children live in a family which is not their birth family, and have a special status within that family. Psychological and medicinal research examines the normality experienced by foster children – meaning their psychological and physical health and normative development – very closely and (at least sometimes) critically (Oswald et al., 2011; Groh, 2010; Schmidt & Peréz, 2011; Kindler et al., 2011; Helming, 2011). As they grow up, foster children are accordingly confronted with a normality that is (or is assumed to be) lacking or precarious. This places them before the particular challenge of constructing their own normality in difficult conditions, of presenting it to the outside world and constantly finding a balance.

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