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What NOT to say to a Foster Parent

Foster to Adopt Foster Care Child Welfare Advocacy USA

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  Written by Brittani Wisser on 18 Jul 2016

Do you ever take a second to think about something before you say it?  Often times we don’t think about things before they come rolling off our tongue.  It seems to be human nature, to allow emotion get the better of us, and lash out with impulsive words.  These things we end up saying aren’t necessarily intended to hurt someone’s feelings, however, it’s sometimes the outcome.  It’s important to think before we speak. Everyone has feelings which should be respected. 

Foster parents deal with stresses that many others don’t have to face.  It’s not uncommon for these stresses to increase their sensitivity.  Foster parents have one of the toughest, yet rewarding jobs.  They are providing care, love, and support to children in need of a loving, stable, environment.   It’s important that we remember to take the time and appreciate all foster parents, rather than discredit them for their hard work.  Below are some examples of things you should not say to a foster parent…

“Why would you want to be a foster parent, don’t you realize you will be dealing with troubled kids?”    A potential foster parent, or a 5 year experienced foster parent, does not want to be questioned on why they chose (or are choosing) to be a foster parent.  Generally, individuals don’t go into the foster care process thinking it will be an easy task dealing with children who have been faced with an abundance of trauma.  Please remember that these individuals take that leap (to provide care to these children) all in good faith.  Be supportive of these individuals, rather than question why they may be doing it. 

“You must get paid a lot to keep other’s children who are in the foster care system.” Not only is this statement incorrect, it’s just not a motivating factor.  Foster parents don’t do it for a monetary gain.  Yes, foster parents are provided with funds to help support the children in their care, but it’s nothing more than what is sufficient to raise a child.  In fact, many times foster parents are required to utilize their own finances to meet the needs of these children. 

“Why do they act like that?” Please remember, no child is perfect.  This is all part of the process on the road to adulthood.  All children exhibit a variety of behaviors that are both good and bad.  Foster parents are held to a higher/stricter standard when providing supervision to the children in their care.  Never question why a child is acting out, or why that parent is not, “controlling” that child.  Parents have their own ways of doing just that, and who are we to judge?  Children in the foster care system have already experienced some level of trauma (in their short lives), so let’s please not forget that.  These children need and deserve the same love and support they would have otherwise gotten. 

Hands Across the Water is so grateful to our foster parents.  Their willingness to open their hearts and home to child in need is life changing for a foster child.  The best way to show your appreciation of a foster family is to be sensitive and supportive.



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