There are a lot of things I feel like people assume when I tell them we are foster parents. Here are a few things I wish I could tell people before even talking to them.
1. Don’t assume my kids were plan B. Many people will ask or elude to me not being able to get pregnant so having to go the adoption route. People say things like, “well, you know after people adopt they are usually able to get pregnant.” And in front of my children!! DO NOT assume my kids were not my first choice. In fact, God told us to do foster care before we were even ready to talk about having kids. God also, first, told us in His Word to care for the orphan. He does not say “care for the orphan after you try to have your own kids.” He says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1:27). Friends, my children were God’s plan A for us. They were never plan B.
2. Don’t assume my children aren’t mine. Yes, I know they don’t look like me, but saying “are those your kids?” in front of my very vulnerable 6 year old is hurtful. Yes, they are mine. Don’t you hear them calling me “mommy”??
3. Don’t assume my kids can’t hear you. People have asked some pretty inappropriate things about my children in front of them. My oldest is 6. And she’s been in foster care for almost 2 years. She’s smart. And she has ears. Do not ask questions about why her mom can’t take care of her when she’s around. Do not talk negatively about her birth family or say things like “that’s such a shame” or “poor things have been through so much” or whatever other versions of that there are. My children come from a traumatic background. They need to feel normal and accepted. Not singled out. Their biological family is important to them and will always be. Don’t comment on it unless they bring it up to you. And even then, choose your words carefully.
4. Finally, this is more about us that the kids. Don’t assume we are so great. People that hear we are foster parents often say things like “y’all are such good people to do that” or “I could never do that, you are so brave” or “I can’t believe how strong your faith is to do something like that.” We are no better than all the other sinners in this world. We need Jesus to save us. We fail a lot. We don’t love like we should all the time. Most of the time we feel like we are barely holding our heads above water. We are doing what we believe Jesus has called His church to do. That doesn’t make us better than anybody else who is doing the same. If anything, it points out our need for Jesus even more. We see our failures even more. We see our depravity even more. And we see Jesus even more. We are not totally awesome people set above anyone. We are totally depraved and sinful people who have been called to do the work of God.
Thanks for reading my rant. Does anyone have any other “don’t assume” examples? I am not directing this to anyone specific. These are just things I’ve come across recently and wanted to write about. As always, thanks to all of you for your love and support of our family!