It’s funny how the MINUTE you bring children into your life, people feel entitled to ask the most intrusive questions.
We had something similar happen when we were first married… our first Sunday at church as a married couple, we had at least three people ask when we were going to start having kids. We laughed it off but those questions kept coming for the first year and a half of our marriage, and it got old really quick. We are very open people, but that doesn’t mean that we necessary like to tell everyone everything. I’m grateful for the wise women who told me it would only get worse when we finally did have kids.
I know that most people asking questions do so because they love us and have a genuine interest in our lives. This post is for you guys.
But, inevitably, we have also been approached by acquaintances who have heard about our foster care journey through the grapevine, and decided they wanted to poke around to learn more. I’m hoping a few of them also read this, and maybe also consider reading Fostering Privacy to better understand why we hesitate to answer their questions.
Just the other day, we were shopping for groceries when we were approached by the parents of an old school acquaintance. We were friends on social media, but hadn’t spoken or seen each other in a long time. After the necessary small talk, and after congratulating us on getting licensed, the wife launched into several VERY detailed questions.
“Did you even TRY to have your own kids? Naturally? For how long? Like, did you go through infertility treatments? Clomid? IVF?I heard from [redacted] that you wouldn’t ever be able to have kids..that’s alright, I guess, because you can adopt one of those foster kids instead.”
I’ll be forever grateful to Daniel who stepped in and gave his signature response to anyone who asks about our infertility: “We don’t know what the issue is! We make out all the time, and still, no baby!” I myself was biting my tongue, but was internally contemplating how good it would feel to say, “I’m sorry, but my reproductive health is frankly none of your business.”
After giving the bare minimum explanation, we were finally able to escape, but this exchange made me realize that there was probably a whole world of people out there who assume that those who adopt from foster care do so half heartedly, because it’s their very last resort. I want to try to clarify this, if I can.
Our priority and our goal as we foster is first and foremost to help these families piece themselves back together. To support and pray for the parents who need help and guidance, and to love and support and protect their children in the meantime. If the family has even a small chance of being reunified, and their children living safely and happily, we are all for it.
We foster because that’s what we feel called to do. That’s how we have decided to go out into the dark, scary world and try to make it a little brighter. This is what we’ve decided to do to help others feel God’s love.
Because the goal of foster care is to keep families together, only the most heartbreaking situations in foster care result in adoption….only when parents have given up on their children, or been arrested, or have committed suicide, or have proven that they are physically, mentally, and financially unable to provide for the children they love, does a child become adoptable. Even then, only when there is no family or next of kin available or willing to take this child are they adopted by foster families.
The uncertainty and loss that these children are exposed to after reaching this point in their journey often results in trauma they carry with them their whole lives, and makes it ANYTHING but easy on the adoptive parents. Of course, humans are resilient, and happy endings abound in the world of foster care and adoption, but it’s not all sunshine and roses. If we were ONLY looking to adopt a child, private adoption would be the easiest option, and worth every penny, because of the heartache, uncertainty, and time that it would save us.
We are eager and excited to grow our family, one way or another… whether that be through foster care, biological means, private adoption, or whatever God has in mind for us, but we are forever mindful that foster care is about the children, and not about us.
Everyone comes to foster care for different reasons. For some couples, fostering is the only way that they will be able to bring children into their home. Letting go of the prospect of having kids that share your looks and DNA is soul-crushing, and it’s a very real possibility that we’ve had to deal with. But that doesn’t mean that the process of fostering and adopting children that look nothing like us is any less special of a way to grow our family. In fact, in many ways, fostering has already been more special and sacred than anything I could ever have imagined.
We don’t know whether or not we’ll be able to have children the way that most people do, but those hopes and fears are COMPLETELY UNRELATED to our foster care journey. We are here for these children and their families, and we have chosen to leave our own hopes, fears, and problems out of the equation. These families have enough to deal with without us bringing our own agenda into the mix.
We’re fully aware that we don’t owe any explanations to anyone. We’re also aware of the need for more families to open their hearts and homes to the families around them, and do what they can to learn and use the healer’s art. In the end, we are all brothers and sisters….and whether we’re able to help one of our brothers or sisters for a day, a year, or a lifetime, we will forever consider that our greatest gift, and our highest calling.
I hope that I’ve made sense. If you have any questions, especially related to foster care, I would love to help answer them below.