There was a television show “Kids Say the Darndest Things” which was very funny. Kids were interviewed and would say typical child misunderstandings. Maybe this could embarrass a parent but they were kids who did not know any better.
People talk without thinking or are completely clueless how to act in some situations. This is the beginning of a series of posts on things my wife or I have heard on foster care, infertility, miscarriage, adoption, and death. We have heard most of these more than once. I really am not trying to call anyone out or embarrass and I have said stupid things way too many times. My hope is if you catch yourself thinking anything similar, you’ll stop and find something more useful to do.
- “Why do you want strange children living with you, they could be dangerous.” – Many children in care have experienced extreme trauma. They are victims, not abusers. They do have issues understanding how to express frustration and sometimes do not know how to respond to love. It is a very sad world if you are afraid of a child living in your home. It takes strength but not physical strength.
- “Do you spend your own money on them, or does the state provide enough money for care.” – I am leery of the person asking this question. While most foster families have no motive but to help, a few try to game the system for profit. If you are doing foster care correctly, you will be spending more than the state provides. I also find it sad because the state should be 100% providing for the children. Some perfectly great homes decide to not foster because of the added expense. I am totally fine with the foster parent not making a profit.
- “Why would you take them on vacation with you?” – Why would you not take them with you? Do they not deserve to relax and have a little fun? It is not always possible because of limitations their parents may have placed, scheduling, etc. We took kids on vacations when possible and we all had fun.
- “You know having foster children will give your own kids a complex. It’s like you are saying they are not good enough so you had to find new kids.” – Ridiculous. If you have raised your children with love, this thought should not occur. You should prepare them on what to expect, why you are doing it, and how they can help. It should not be much different for them than having a sibling.
- Comments while waiting on prescriptions:
- “Sigh, they have a bunch of steaks and stuff [in the cart].” – A rude comment in reference to our using a state medicaid card. Foster care children all have medicaid and the state requires the parents pay for it or bills their insurance unless they legitimately qualify. This protects the child’s privacy because foster parents have no idea what is backing the medicaid and it makes many things simpler. Us 2 adults and 3 or 4 boys to feed and we wanted to grill some steaks.
- “If you don’t have money for the prescription, can I go ahead of you?” – I’m sorry I have to use 3 different medical cards for the 3 different children needing care. I’m sorry I have to get separate receipts so I can get reimbursed for the out-of-pocket medical expenses. I am sorry my caring for other people’s children is getting in your way. Thankfully, the pharmacist, who knew what was happening, walked up and finished my order so the lady was ignored.
- “Must be nice to get free medication and drive a Lexus. You should have to pay like the rest of us.” – I cannot believe the audacity people have. I do not like people gaming the system either but I would never think someone was doing it without proof. The Lexus was bought used, I pay way too much for insurance, and again it was buying medications for foster kids.
- Walking through Cracker Barrel, “If I had slept with a dirty Mexican, my husband would have left me.” – I cannot guarantee I would have refrained from hitting if this was not a blue-haired woman. Of all the things I have ever heard, this is the singular worst comment. This person had no idea if the child was ours, a foster child, or a friend’s child. Beyond clueless, she is vile racist.
Being a foster care parent is one of the best things we have done. Those kids gave more to me than I ever imagined. I thought I was doing it to help them and hopefully adopt. I did not get to adopt any and I did help, but they give so much more. Please consider becoming a foster family or a court appointed special advocate (CASA). If not, it is possible to be a respite home where you do not have kids for long.
Feel free to ask questions about how to talk about Foster Care, Adoption, Miscarriages, Infertility, and Child Loss. I will have a post on what people have said for each one. Ask what is appropriate or how to help a loved one through it in the comments below or private message.
Thanks to Donna Lloyd for helping me remember some quotes.
Photo by Ana Francisconi on Unsplash.