Post # 1
These are the top three that come to my mind. Anyone who has been a foster parent, please add to list.
1. Is it hard to give them back?
I answer this question by saying “Of course.” I would like to add, “and it is hard being asked that question, over and over again, by everyone.”
2. Are you going to adopt her/him?
Many foster children are not legally free for adoption, and we cannot just decide we want to keep the child. Generally, judges make decisions based on the situation of the biological parents and foster parents have little or nothing to do with that process. Please don’t ever ask this question in front of the child, as one nurse did in front of one of my foster daughters. Despite neglect or abuse, most of these kids are strongly attached to their biological parents and frightened by the thought that they might not be going home to them. If adoption does become an option, this has to be approached very carefully with the child.
3. Why was the child removed from his/her biological parents?
I was asked this constantly. In my state, we were told during training that whatever happened is confidential, and we were not allowed to disclose it. If I had answered, I would have been repeating a long, complicated story over and over. These children do have a past, but they also have a right to live in the present. They have a right to privacy.
Post # 2
I work with foster parents, and these are all great!
I’d add: Didn’t you want real kids?, often asked to the foster parents without bio kids.
Um, foster kids aren’t fake, last time I checked. And asking anyone about their reproductive choices is rude, always.
Post # 3
If people don’t know that these kids are not eligible for adoption, then I’d reckon it’s a question worth answerimg so you can spread awareness.
Post # 4
Carolsays: Thanks! We hear/know all of the constant frustrations of insensitive and annoying things that’s are said to pregnant women, but very rarely anything about what could be offensive to a foster or adoption family.
DH and I are friendly with a couple who are just adding two sweet foster toddlers (siblings) to their family. We have such a lack of experience and education with foster families, that I see how easily we have easily slipped up with any one of these lines. This post came at just the perfect time and is great for us to know! : )
Post # 5
Horseradish: Awareness of what exactly and why? I’m just curious as to why that would be anyone else’s business. From my understanding, adoption may or may not be an option…. Nobody knows (including both sets of parents) until a good amount of time has passed. So, it’d probably be impossible for anyone to say if the children are eligible for adoption at any given time.
Many times, I think the foster family *hopes* to adopt and dreads the day that their foster child may get taken away. So, I could def see how asking them if they plan/want to adopt would be somewhat insensitive depending on how strongly their feelings are regarding the future of the child in question at that time.
Post # 6
- Wedding: March 2016 - Whitetail Ridge
Horseradish: I agree with this. The question about adoption may come from people who are uneducated on how fostering/adoption works, and if you plan to/are able to adopt the child in the future. It may not be a mean-spirited question but something worth educating those that are unfamiliar with the process.
Post # 7
PoliticallyIncorrect: awareness of how the foster system works. What are the challenges these kids and foster parents face? what happens when a birth parent/bio parent wants the child back? Who makes those decisions?
It is an incredibly complicated situation, and with budgets for social services being cut all the time, I would imagine it is in everyone’s interest if as many people as possible understand how the system works.
you are doing something that few people have done and it’s quite forseeable that you will get a lot of questions about it. It is not rude or insensitive to try to learn about someone’s motivations for doing what’s basically a thankless and often heartbreaking job.
Post # 8
Horseradish: Ah, I gotcha. For some reason I interpreted what you originally said a little differently, but that makes total sense. I agree, as you make a totally valid and logical view on it. I said earlier that friends of our just took in two foster children. I admittedly could have asked any of the above questions prior to seeing OP’s statements.
However, it def would not be out of malice. In fact, I think it’s admirable in most cases. Like you pointed out, I would have asked solely because I am so unaware and uneducated in what the whole fostering process entails. I have also heard a lot of negativity pertaining to foster-families on both ends (foster parents with skewed priorities/intentions, and children with behavioral issues due to their histories). So, I suppose there is a generalized curiosity there, as well.