Who did you inherit your eye color from? Your hair color and texture? Your personality? Your love for certain foods? Your athleticism? Your creativeness?
For most of us, these questions are simple. We can usually identify a family member or two that we get these traits from.
I have never been very interested in my family tree or family history. My hunch is because I have always felt secure in knowing my immediate family. Can you imagine not having that simple privilege?
Since becoming a foster parent, I have found a desire to know as much as I can about my children’s families. Of course, partly out of curiosity, but mainly because I want them to feel as secure as possible in knowing as much as possible about their genetics and biological families.
It is undeniable that my son resembles my husband, people always comment how it’s a “God thing.” Admittedly, I do find it sweet that they look alike. But I always remind Bub that he actually looks a lot like his “tummy mommy.” (The term we use for his biological mother). He gets his nose and eyes from her. I won’t be able to answer all his questions, but I want to make sure I have done all I can to answer some of them for him.
I’m not naïve. I understand in some situations, it is not safe to be open. But, I also know that some people view foster care as “them vs. us” much like parents do with step-parents. Every situation is unique, but there are so many ways to keep connections alive and gain information without compromising safety. One way to do this is to only send and receive information through caseworkers. This way you can get questions answered about family medical history or even pictures from before you met your children, and they (biological families) can be updated on their child’s well-being.
As you’re reading this you may be asking why. Why should their biological families (and others) get the privilege of knowing how their child is doing? It’s no secret, many (not all) situations in foster care occur because biological parents’ rights have been terminated due to their own actions or inaction.
Regardless of why, as foster parents we need to remember if not for biological families we would never have had the opportunity to love these children. Without them, these children wouldn’t be who they are. It’s not all nature and it’s not all nurture. No matter how much anger you may feel towards their family, they will always be a part of them. Be a decent human being. Can you imagine not even knowing what your child looks like? I can’t. Sending pictures is the least I can do.
I’m still navigating this foster care stuff but I do know, If I hadn’t reached out, I would have never had these pictures of my son.