I would share brief dialogue clips from conversations we have had with others in 2014.
When my husband and I went through the licensing process to become an adoptive home for children in foster care, we learned that a good portion of our role is to educate… might I say “re-educate”… the general public.
There are some things we have become accustomed to answering. (See the letter we mailed to our family & friends before having children placed in our home.) And then there are other things that people say with good intentions but come across as insensitive. In the spirit of BuzzFeed and for the betterment of understanding foster care, here are some light-hearted insights into my inner-dialogue.
“I would adopt through foster care but I am not aware that I have any infertility issues.”
Inner-dialogue: Hello, I am not struggling with infertility either. Foster care adoption is our Plan A.
What I actually say: “I haven’t struggled with infertility either. My husband’s grandpa was an orphan that was never adopted and we feel called to help someone else experience the love and support that a family can bring.”
“I think adoption is a beautiful thing. I just thought you’d have biological children first.”
Inner-dialogue: Really? Did we ever have this conversation? Because I’m pretty sure that was your expectation and not something I verbalized as my personal dream.
What I actually say: “Well, I guess things turned out differently.”
“It’s so inspiring that you would raise damaged children.”
Inner-dialogue: First, this isn’t true. Second, put yourself in the shoes of these children. Would hearing someone call you damaged lift your self-confidence? No. So simply don’t say this.
What I actually say: “Thanks.”
“Why is the process taking so long? I mean, the bio family has already relinquished their rights, right?”
Inner-dialogue: I know you’re trying to better understand our situation but foster care adoption often means the state takes the bio parent(s) to court and terminates their rights. Meaning, like in our case, this is not an elective decision. We are well-aware that the timeline is ever increasing.
What I actually say: “It’s complicated.”
“You have a sibling set, do they have the same parents?
Inner-dialogue: How is knowing this information important? To me, it seems like it validates making judgement on the bio parents if they had multiple partners.
What I actually say: “Yes.”