In Defense of Foster Parenting
I’ll never forget the wide eyes staring back at me. I told a worker friend of mine the (I thought, very exciting) news that my foster son was going to be adopted by my dear friend. The look was that just-so combination of horror, disgust, and "oh-how-nice." I wanted to clap back at her (nonverbal) judgement: “You. were. the. one. who drilled it into my head that foster care is temporary." Instead, I kept my lips locked and took to the internet. I wrote about how "I said no to adopting my foster son, because I'm just a foster mom."
I wanted to normalize the discussion of foster parents being just foster parents. I wanted to shut down the assumption that foster parents must adopt the children who are placed in their homes.
Want to know what the internet thought?
I find her story to show a certain level of selfishness and not so much love for the child but for her perfect life she has created.
I'm sorry but she's a sociopath. It's her calling, but it's his LIFE.
Well now I guess the funds would stop is she adopted him.
Not judging too much, but come on lady. She obviously adopted little girls, what was the problem with one more?
Some people don't like little boys...
I hate to say this question out loud but one has to wonder if it's also about the money, too? As a foster parent you receive a monthly amount per child, and you don't receive any after adoption.
This choice was less about love and more about convenience. I respect the choice, but let us not pretend that the choice makes you a hero.
All I read is that she is a full time babysitter.
This woman clearly fosters for $$$...the kids livelihood is an afterthought to her.
GET THE HELL OUT YOU STILL NEED THE BED BUT I WANT IT AVAILABLE FOR ANOTHER CHILD THAT I WILL PUSH OUT THE DOOR FOR THE SAME REASON. Stop shoving them out the door.
From what I read she is a babysitter you the kids, they aren't yours, and go cash your check.
If it would break your heart that much to lose him I don't understand why you wouldn't adopt him.
I don't know but this story pisses me off big time!
It seems like you love to be a foster parent so much that you turn away a child in need. That in my opinion is not love but selfishness.
Seriously r u kidding me? There no way in hell I would be able to give him up after I had him.
That's just wrong, you can't love that child that much and then let him go.
I guess she just didn't love him enough. So sad. Awful piece.
Bottom line is she didn't love him ENOUGH TO KEEP HIM.
I would've adopted him.
Sorry, I don't agree. It's not about her, it's what is best for the child. This is abandonment.
I am guessing fostering comes with an incomes and adoption with an expense.
That poor child. She should be ashamed of herself.
Stop thinking of yourself. He needs you.
It's horrible how people treat things smaller, younger, and more helpless
You don't let go of someone you love.
Now before you worry yourself about little ole me, you should know that as I scrolled through the comments section, I read the words aloud to my friends and we laughed together at just how troll-y trolls can be. Then I forgot about them and slept just fine, thank you very much. You should also know that, as someone who's opened my life to the world, I receive the most over-the-top, embarrassingly kind words (and prayers and gifts and such) from complete strangers all the time. This post isn't about me. It isn't about how terrible people on the internet are (I've written that one before). It's about how important it is that we change the discussion around foster care and adoption.
It may say seem obvious that foster parents are just that: foster parents. But, somewhere along the line, it seems that foster care and adoption have become synonymous. One in the same. A "both," rather than an "and/or."
But, just so we're clear on how they're different: Foster care is temporary. Adoption is forever. Foster parents are necessary because many children only need temporary homes. Foster parents are necessary because not every child who will ultimately be adopted can be immediately placed in an adoptive family.
Sometimes the selfless, heroic people who are willing to adopt are not willing to ride the roller coaster of foster care. Sometimes the children we thought were staying for a week, stay for a year. Sometimes a biological parent just needs a second chance, a helping hand. Sometimes other biological family members who seem like they will be an appropriate option are not.
Foster care is, at its core, a bridge. Back to first family or on to forever family. Sometimes foster family and forever family are one in the same. Sometimes.
Foster parents must never--not ever--be shamed or condemned or criticized when they do not adopt their foster children. Adoption is not in our job description. Does it sometimes happen? Yes. Does it have to happen? No.
There are parents who feel called to foster care and adoption. Those parents should be honored. There are parents who feel called--only, solely called--to adoption. Those parents should be honored. There are parents who feel called--only, solely called--to foster care. Those parents should be honored.