10 Things NOT To Say To A Foster Parent

10 things not to say to foster parentsWhen people find out that you are a foster parent, they react in a number of ways. Some think it’s so awesome, others think that you are a monster. Regardless of how you feel about foster care, there are some comments that you just need to keep to yourself.

Here are my top 10 things NOT to say to a foster parent (yes, these have ALL been said to me at one point or another…):

  1. You must be rolling in the dough. – I was absolutely astonished that someone would say this to me. I did NOT get into this for the money, not that we really get anything anyways…. Most foster parents (ourselves included) put more money out for these kids than we will EVER get back. And that’s the way it should be, this is not a ‘get rich quick’ scheme. *insert eye roll here*
  2. Every foster parent I’ve heard of is abusive. – Although, there are a lot of stories about abusive foster homes (and adoptive homes), most foster and adoptive homes are NOT that way. We have so many rules and we constantly have a caseworker in our home, it’s so hard to even be close to abusive. It’s obviously not impossible, but it sure takes a heartless person to hurt kids who have already been through so much; and most people who foster, aren’t completely heartless!
  3. I’m sure they were fine where they were. – Yes, there were fine, not being fed or clothed. They were fine getting beat every night by their dad. They were fine being emotionally and sexually abused. They were fine being neglected. I still don’t understand HOW anyone could say this. See what I see and hear what I hear from my sweet fosters and THEN try to say, “I’m sure they were fine where they were.”
  4. This is just another way for the government to control families and who is allowed to have kids. – Can I just say that this comment didn’t make sense when the lady said it to me, and it still doesn’t make sense now that I’m typing it… I’m pretty “Ron Swanson” (Parks and Rec reference), but even I know the government is doing this for the well-being of the CHILDREN, not to the parents. It’s all about the kids, folks.
  5. I don’t think God would want the government to take kids away from the people He gave them to. – This one made me stop and think, this was brought to my attention when we started the whole foster care process. I understand what they are saying, but at the same time, God works in mysterious ways. He doesn’t give people children to abuse and neglect them, but He give us the free will to choose how we handle every situation in our lives. I whole heartedly think that foster care is a God-sent program. It keeps the children out of harm’s way, and it gives the parents an opportunity to turn their lives around.
  6. They turned out to be a blessing, I bet you’re happy about that! – Let’s get one thing straight, these kids are NOT bad kids. Each kid is different, each situation is different, some kids have more baggage, but that does not make them bad kids. I’ve found that I have to remind people that it’s not the child’s fault that they are in care. It is not their fault that they are in foster care, so don’t place a negative label on children in care. It does much more bad than good. Kids will be who YOU perceive them to be, so choose to seem them as good kids from bad situations (which IS what they are). I’ve been in doctor’s offices, daycares, and many other “professional” places that treat these kids horribly and talk to me about how my hands are full because these kids are so “awful.” I get rather angry because some of these kids may have never been in a doctor’s office, daycare or anywhere else that expects them to act a certain way. Please, give our kids time to learn and grow under you. Be patient. Be kind.
  7. When do they go back? – I DISPISE this question, because I don’t like to think about them going home. And besides that, I don’t ever KNOW for sure when they will be returning to their bio family. It changes everyday. We had a child that was supposed to go to a family member in a week, well a week turned into months. We’ve also had kids that were supposed to be with us for about a year, and it turned into a couple of months. We don’t know what will happen from day to day, we have an idea, but we can almost never know for certain, so please don’t expect us to answer this question with any kind of certainty.
  8. Are you going to adopt? – This question isn’t super hurtful, but we often have to remind friends and family that we cannot adopt every child that comes into our care. That’s not what foster care is for anyways, it’s to keep children safe while their parents work out their issues. We would LOVE to adopt, don’t get me wrong, but we also realize that adoption isn’t possible in every case we have (even though we wished it were!). We would adopt every child we’ve had if we were able!
  9. Just wait until you have ‘real’ kids. – This one is hard. We completely understand what the other person means by this comment, however, these kids are 100% real and 100% ours. Just because they are in our care for a shot time, does NOT mean we love them any less or differently than our own (future) children. We will always have a piece of these kids in our hearts. They are ours. They always will be; even if we never see them again after they leave our home.
  10. I couldn’t do it, I’d miss them too much. – My husband gets snippy on this point. Jonathan will look at the person who made the comment and say, “We DO miss them. We cry whenever a child leaves our home. We AREN’T heartless, but we realize that if everyone who would ‘miss them too much’ didn’t step up and decide that these kids are more important than how WE will feel, then they’ll have no one during this hard time.” Jonathan is very passionate about this point, because he went into this to help children and to be a light for Christ to them and their families. He knew he would miss them, he knew I would miss them, but we decided that our feelings mattered less than these kids who have no choice. They have no choice to endure this, but we do. We can choose ourselves or we can choose these kids. Jonathan and I have chose the children.
“For the sake of our children, I will guard the gate, and if I must stand alone, I’m not going any place.”

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