To all you well meaning people out there… just stop.
Stop and think before you speak.
Here’s an ever-growing list of things you shouldn’t say to foster parents.
“Will you get to adopt them?”
I don’t know. You should just assume that’s the answer for every foster care situation. I don’t know. While we’re on this point let’s not shame those foster parents that do just that, foster. Some people are called to love these children during a season and not a lifetime. Some foster parents are called to love these children until a forever family is found, and that’s totally okay, don’t shame them.
“Wow, but they’re so well behaved.”
Thank you. Yes, they are. Go ahead and keep saying this one, just take the shock out of your voice. Stereotypes surrounding foster kids are just as vast as those in other demographics, don’t feed into it.
“Don’t you want your own kids?”
This one’s synonymous with, “don’t you want real kids?” Hmmm, last time I checked my kids are real. Sharing DNA wouldn’t make these children anymore real to me. And please don’t say this is front of my children! That’s telling them they are less than, simply because I didn’t birth them.
“What’d their real mom do to them?”
Refer to my last answer. I may not share their DNA but that doesn’t make me any less real. And secondly, it’s none of your business why they’re in my home. You don’t go around asking military members their most tragic war stories or domestic abuse victims their most awful experience, so let’s not talk about my child’s trauma and DO NOT ask them. If they want to tell you, that’s their choice, don’t ask.
“I couldn’t do it, I’d get too attached.”
This is the second most common excuse I hear. First let me start with saying, I never asked you to be a foster parent so you don’t have to tell me why you can’t do it. Secondly, just stop saying this. It makes it sound like you think I don’t get attached. I do. Or that somehow your heart is bigger than mine and you care so much more. Well guess what… they are worth every single second, every single worry and heartache. Don’t say this in front of my kids either, that’s insinuating to them that I’m not attached to them and that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“I didn’t think you could do that.”
Insert eye-roll here. The Department of Children and Family Services has a plethora of rules and it seems like the social media police know all the rules. To become a foster parent, we had to take hours and weeks of training to be licensed. We know the rules.
You may have known someone who fostered or who is currently fostering. Their rules may not be the same as ours, every agency differs. I promise you, my kids are safe and the rules are followed.
“But you don’t know what you’ll get…”
Excuse me?!? I’m sorry, did you get to choose which genetic traits your children inherited from you and your family? Didn’t think so. Don’t be ignorant.
“I know someone who fostered and it was a nightmare.”
Do you think this is helpful? Are you trying to relate? Or maybe you’re trying to scare me out of it. Believe it or not, I put a lot of thinking into this foster care thing before ever inquiring for more information. Yes, I am aware of the hardships that will come but that’s not going to keep me from loving on these kids.
“They’re so lucky to have you.”
This is by far the number one phrase I have heard since becoming a foster mommy. AND THE MOST ANNOYING. I get what you’re attempting to say but just stop. You really think my kids are lucky? Lucky to have been pulled from their biological families? Lucky to have been born into a situation they couldn’t control? Lucky to have been taken away from siblings, pets, toys, friends, neighborhoods, schools, babysitters, daycares, relatives, and the only family and life they’ve ever known? Lucky to be taken to a new house, full or strangers, in a town they’ve never even visited?
I get it, I really do. Yes, we can provide for these kids. We provide love, stability, security, activities, and new opportunities they may have never experienced otherwise, but wouldn’t it have been better if we weren’t needed? If their families could have kept them and raised them and been the best examples for their own children, so they would have never had to experience this trauma. Yes, trauma. They’re not lucky, they’re loved.