Remember that list of things you should never say to foster parents? If you didn’t get a chance to read it, check it out here before reading on.
Here’s a list of things to replace those well-meaning statements.
“They’re so well-behaved.”
Yes, they are. Thank you. Just remember to keep the shock out of your voice when you say this.
“I’m so glad you guys are able to make an impact in each other’s lives.”
We don’t know how long these kids will be in our home. Asking if we’ll get to adopt really isn’t appropriate. Yes, many situations end in adoption, but in foster care the number one goal is for children to return to their biological families.
We’re not just making an impact in their lives, they’re changing us. Each day we learn from them, we grow as parents and grow as people.
“You have a beautiful family.”
This one I hear a lot! And I love it. My family isn’t traditional, which is great because neither am I. My family wasn’t made like yours, but you still acknowledge that we’re a family. Thank you.
“I’m glad you’re able to keep them safe during this difficult time.”
Don’t ask about trauma in my children’s lives. If you feel the need to comment about it, this is a more appropriate statement. It’s obvious my children have faced unsafe situations, they wouldn’t be in care otherwise.
“Everyone has a calling and I’m so happy you’ve found one of yours.”
This one isn’t for every foster parent but it’s my situation. God calls us to get uncomfortable and I couldn’t imagine a more uncomfortable situation than moving strangers into my home. I do feel like I’ve been called to do this and it’s totally okay that you haven’t been. Please don’t feel the need to explain to me why you aren’t fostering.
“What do you need?”
You know how new mommies get nine months to prepare for their new arrivals and gifts and baby showers. Foster parents don’t get that. We don’t get the big congratulations and parties. We don’t know the age or gender we will be placed with so a lot of times when children go to a new home all they have is what’s on their backs.
But we’re not going to ask for anything. We don’t know how long this child will be in our house and we don’t want people to get upset for spending money on items when a child could be with us for a short time. Something everyone needs to know though, most of those items will go with the child when they leave. So, whether or not a child stays with us or goes to live somewhere else, those items are needed and will be used.
Sometimes all we’ll ask for is prayer. Actually, you don’t even have to ask, just pray for wisdom and patience for us all and pray for the children in our homes. Pray for their loss of family and pray for their family.
“They are so loved.”
This is a good replacement for “they’re so lucky to have you.” Regardless of why my children are in my home, one thing is for certain, they are so very loved.