Foster & Adoption Family Game Nights

Foster & Adoption Family Game Nights

Screens are all around us — social media, phones, iPads, and tv — and our schedules are busy with school, work and after-school activities. Sometimes, it can feel difficult for families to connect. Family game nights can be a great way to build trust, connect, and learn to communicate in a fun setting.

Family game nights – backed by researchannette williams head shot

Annette Williams, PhD, LPC, RPT, CAS, NCC, Program Manager of Fort Bend Post Adoption and Post Permanency, recently created research-backed games to help families communicate. But these are not just any games — they are designed with foster and adoptive families in mind. Read more about her research and methodology in this complete article, “Supporting Families Through Gaming.”

“Initially, when I considered gaming to meet foster family and adoptive family needs, I knew my approach had to be out of the box, meaning that the games had to be meaningful, relevant, and real,” said Annette. “There was no room for cookie cutter approaches… The games I contemplated had to help families dig deep, afford truth, transparency, vulnerability, trust, and introspection.”

22 new ways for families to connect

With her wealth of experience helping families navigate the effects of childhood trauma, she developed 22 mental health, foster care, and adoption games. She also sought input from fellow therapists and adoptive families before officially launching two of the games.

Googly Moogly

The first game, Googly Moogly the Foster Care and Adoption Game, is a board game in which players:

  • Discuss scenarios that may have occurred in their foster care or adoptive homes
  • See things from both the child’s and the parent’s perspective
  • Develop critical thinking, empathy and communication skills

One scenario in the game: “These foster children/adopted children are so broken that they are frustrating me!”  One player reads the scenario on the card, and the other players critically think about how they would respond. As players share their responses, they learn about each other in a low-stress environement.

Unpack That Stuff!

The second game is a card game called Unpack That Stuff! In this game, players take turns reading an open-ended question, closed-ended question or scenario.  The card reader responds to the card subject matter while the other players listen supportively. Questions are designed to help players:

  • Unpack feelings and emotions that weigh them down
  • Create an environment of transparency and vulnerability
  • Learn how to support others

Children and teens who played this game reported that it really helped them talk about things that had been bothering them. Moreover, parents were able to create an environment of vulnerability by sharing their own feelings through this game.

Ready to connect more with your family?

Family game nights can be a great way to practice intentional connection and communication. For foster and adoptive families especially, they are also a great way to help children navigate the effects of trauma. To learn more about how to get your own game, contact Annette Williams at

Arms Wide also offers permanency support services to help families connect, communicate and thrive. We are here to help you find the resources you need to help your family thrive after adoption or permanent guardianship. Give us a call to speak to an Arms Wide coordinator today at 713.681.6991.