If you take away the FOSTER what do you have?

I was recently asked to write up some thoughts on foster care for the Lionesses at the Gate Blog. If you missed it here is the “encore” presentation of what was featured from me on their site.

My husband and I have been Foster Parents for two years now. In that time we have have 4 children come into our home and have gone on to be reunited with family.  It’s been such a growing experience for our entire family in so many ways it’s sometimes difficult to put into words.

I always get asked:

WHY we decided to foster? Isn’t it hard to have them leave? How do you do it? Do you ever wish they could stay?

and so on and so on…. all valid questions! I believe the process and journey is different for everyone. The training you take before you are actually certified helps you go into fostering with your eyes wide open and also makes you step out of your own perspective into that of a child in foster care, the bio parents, the extended family, siblings and more. It’s amazing how much my heart has grown.

BUT one of my favorite experiences I like to share in this shift of perspective, is this lesson I learned on day 1 of my foster care classes. Will you play along with me? Here’s how it goes?e

 Tell me (or perhaps think about) all the words that come to mind when you hear the phrase “Foster child”.

These can be positive and megative. Just run the gammet of everything that comes to mind with those two words.

words associated with foster children

Did you use or think of some of these? Typically MOST people tend to think of negative words associated with FOSTER CHILD. And that’s OK. When I first was part of this “experiment” I totally went there! I wasn’t sure what to think but most of the words thrown out in the room that night at class ran the gammet of positive and negative. It all depends on your life experience, knowledge and perspective. But here comes the “COOL” part.

The instructor then said, “What if I take the FOSTER out of the phrase. All we have left is CHILD……Does that change the words you associate with it now?

different perspective on foster children

The room fell silent….. I felt smacked right in my chest. You could feel how everyone was on some level of unease…

YES! I of course it changes my perspective! The words I associate with CHILD are waaaay different! BUT that was the whole point. The instructor went on to say we need to drop the FOSTER in Foster Child and see these kids that come into our homes as simply children. Our own kids aren’t perfect and neither are these.

Oh my gosh! That left the biggest impression on me and has helped me with each foster child that has come. It’s not always easy but I find myself stopping and associating that child with another child I know that is the same age or close in age.

How would I treat them?

How would I react to this child?

What words would I use or tone in my voice?

So am I  treating this child as a FOSTER CHILD or a CHILD? It’s been such a good gut, reality and motherhood check for me. I hope in sharing this little lesson I learned in my foster care training that you yourself have had a bit of perspective change about fostering.

foster care quote - brassyapple.com

Comments

  1. This is wonderful – and so eye openening! My husband and I are being certified to become foster parents right now. I’m so glad to have found your blog. 🙂

Leave a Comment

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.