I’m a bit irked at a mindset that has made the word foster ugly. That has put a spin on calling a child a foster child a bad thing. That foster son or foster daughter or foster parent is an unloving term. And I couldn’t disagree more.
Being a foster parent means that you are willingly and lovingly taking in a child or children that are not your own, that you had little to no time to get to know, that need a safe place, that need love and support, and that may or may not stay with you.
Being a foster parent is one of the most loving and kind things someone can do.
Being a foster child means that you need a safe place, that you need encouragement, that you need someone to have your back, and that you need love fostered in your life. It may or may not mean that your heart wants someone new to call mom or dad.
Being a foster child is one of the hardest and scariest things that can happen to someone.
When these two groups come together, the goal is to foster love. To foster safety. To foster trust. To foster growth.
And fostering those things is beautiful.
Some children arrive at foster homes ready for a mom and dad. Ready for a new family.
But some do not. Some are old enough that their hearts are for their biological family in regards to mom or dad. And that’s ok.
The goal of foster parenting shouldn’t be to be mom and dad, no matter what. Nope.
The goal of foster parenting is giving that child or children exactly what they need. And it’s different for each child in the details, while always same in the big picture.
I was offended when people didn’t want to call Daniel our foster son or want me to. When they felt it was unloving. It wasn’t.
Daniel didn’t want new parents. He loved his biological parents. He was twelve years old and had just been taken out of the only family he had ever known, to us. Straight to us.
While Daniel needed safety, and support, and encouragement, and some training, and teaching, and parenting…. he needed all of those things fostered in his life. He didn’t need two people who insisted on being his mom and dad.
So, he was our foster son. And we were his foster parents. And it was a beautiful and Providential match.
We love him and fostered those things in his life as best as we could for six years.
Each foster parent has to lovingly seek out what the foster child needs and wants. Those are two different tasks. And if the child is old enough, it’s beautiful to ask the child what term they prefer. If the child is too young to answer and there is a chance at them being reunited with their biological parents, foster term may be the appropriate term.
It’s individual in how this is approached and what titles are used.
My beef is with those that claim that the word foster is an ugly one, or dis-paring one, or unloving one.
It’s just not. Not the term itself anyway. I suppose that if someone is using an unloving or ugly tone of voice, then the issue is their heart, not the term.
If you know some foster parents, don’t judge them for calling the foster children in their lives foster children. It’s what they are and honestly, it’s a huge honor to be loved and taken in by people who are committed to loving you and fostering healthy things in your life while you need it. And it’s a huge honor to be those adults.
If you are foster parent, release any false expectations you or others may have put on you. Be the foster parent each child who comes to you needs. And if the LORD sees fit to make that child or those children your forever family members, removing the foster title, so be it.
If you are someone in the community who is making foster child a bad term, stop it.
If you are a foster child, please know people are praying for you and that I hope you are receiving the love, support, and encouragement you need.
Can you hear my heart on this?