When children enter a foster family they face a new family culture. At the University of Siegen, Germany, Daniela Reimer and her colleagues analysed biographies of young adults who had spent some of their lives in foster care. Their aim was to explore how children overcome these cultural changes and the approaches that help them cope. This article highlights the manifestations of cultural tensions which, although seemingly trivial to adults, are extremely important for children. It is suggested that this perspective complements other significant factors associated with the success of foster placements. It is self-evident that the process of growing up necessitates a number of transitions and, inevitably, these have a considerable impact on children's biographies (van Gennep, 2005). Much of the research on the life paths of young people has either focused on charting children's biographies (Sackmann and Wingens, 2001) or on normative transitions, such as that from adolescence to adulthood (Stauber et al, 2007). But in addition to normative transitions involving everyone, some children experience changes that are exceptional and a child entering foster care offers such an example. Going to live with a new family is one of the most radical transitions a child can experience, as it usually entails entering a strange world with unknown habits and conventions, and demands considerable efforts to cope successfully (Schofield et al, 2000).