Sunday, December 28, 2008


I just ran across a Chrstmas Eve article from the Atlanta Journal Constitution. It was written by a gentleman named Tom Rawlings and talks about a family that adopted a disabled child from foster care. It also talks about the support of the community that they have been getting. It is a very nice article and is worth taking a look at.

It is nice to hear about community support as there have been times I have received those "looks" from people when they find out we are doing foster care. Even though I have a decent job, and have supported my family fine over the years, to include raising three children of my own, people still think we are being foster parents for "the money" If only they knew. I don't know what they think the state gives us. Or why they feel the need to be so judgemental about others.

What do you say to people when they ask you if the foster child is your ___________ fill in the blank? (we usually get granddaughter). We have been saying no, she is our foster daughter, but that is what brings on those looks.

We shouldn't be worrying about those looks or thinking about saying just "yes" to answer the question. What we need to do as part of the foster parent community to is act as better advocates for ourselves. We do a great job of advocating for our foster children, but it is time we start advocating for ourselves. We have to get those members of the community who understand what foster parenting is all about, to help as well. There are just too many people who don't have a clue. While articles like this one by Mr. Rawlings certainly help we have to do more.

So what am I going to do? I am not sure. I am open to suggestions though, so please feel free to comment and give me your ideas while I try to come up with some ideas of my own.


  1. I sent a little linky your way. And posted on this...

    As for the can say that you are her guardian and she is your family. It is ambiguous and mysterious enough that people don't usually press further.

  2. I always respond to "the question" with something like "oh, she's hanging out with us for a while." Or I just say the baby's name when they say "who is this?" If they press I will generally avoid the question. I feel the need to protect my kids" privacy and my own family from busybodies.

  3. I see things a little differently. For several reasons, that I will try to identify, I DO use the term 'foster son'...a lot.
    My main reason is that my 7 year old foster son (of almost two years) prefers it. He is very very attached to his mother, (whom he sees once a month on a supervised visit) and very pedantic about relationships and names. He will gently 'correct' us if we say 'son' (which we make it a point to do...reasonably HIM...he quite likes 'my boy' ...or 'my kid' so we use those a lot too :))
    But it also feels like I'm hiding I am almost ashamed of something, if I refuse to acknowledge 'out loud' that FOSTER is our relationship. As a lesbian who came out at 38 years old in the same small town where I grew up, married, had 3 kids, divorced-but-stayed-friends-with my husband of 21 years, I certainly know about pride!..AND about 'alternative' families! and I know people will almost always 'see' you, in the same light as you project yourself.

    So I guess, along with trying to educate people about how lesbians are just 'everyday people', I try to be 'out there' about foster families too, and have people see them as just another type of family.

    Sorry about the long long post, and I hope I have conveyed my message as MY way of doing things....certainly not for all.
    And lastly, as a mum with three grown-up kids (27, 23, and 20) and with a 'short term' foster child who has been here almost 2 years, and who is SO fantastic and has changed our lives in so many ways....I can SO relate to your blog! Thank you! :))


  4. I usually just answer the question with a no. As for advocating, I do that amongst our circle of friends. We have been fostering for six years. We used to add the foster a lot more. Now I'm at the point that I don't care if you want to think that I have six kids all from obviously different fathers, and you can draw your own conclusions as to how I got them. But as I was saying, we've been advocating amongst our friends for so long that anytime they hear someone interested in foster care they give our name and say call them to find out how it really is.

    As for those of you who still think we're in it for the money, my 15 year old makes more on a Saturday at a part time job than I do for an entire day. If that's in it for the money, I picked the wrong job.

  5. I usually say something like (she) is staying with us for a while. I know I get confusing to people, particularly when they ask how many kids I have, because I always include whoever is in the house at the time. I actually love getting those weird looks from people in stores. If they want to think I have lots of baby daddies, let 'em!

    And the money part? Ha! I'm with Annie on that one.