Sometimes you want to strike up a conversation with a foster parent but it’s difficult to know what to say. You know that it’s awesome for someone to do what they do, and you want to acknowledge them and let them know you understand how hard it is, but it comes out all wrong sometimes. Here are some common phrases that foster parents hear and what they convey.
“I Couldn’t Do What You Do”
Yes, it is hard to love a child and then have to let them go never knowing if they will get what you desire for them. It’s hard hearing them call you “mommy” and “daddy” and say that they love you, and then say goodbye. Children deserve to be loved with no holds barred, and if we give them as much love as we can until they aren’t with us anymore, aren’t they better off for that love?
“Why Are They in Foster Care?”
It’s a natural question because people are curious, but it makes it difficult to provide an answer. As much as we want to encourage others to do foster care by telling them the story, it is not our story to tell. We are required to be the story-keeper and protect these children without dishonoring them.
“I Would Get Too Attached”
This is a difficult one because sometimes we do get attached. However, you may not want every child to stay forever. A placement can last three months and yet feel like three years. You can love a child as your own but then they keep asking for their parents every day.
So What Can You Say to Foster Parents?
How about one of these encouragements instead?
- “I’m so proud of your family.”
- “You are doing such a good job.”
- “If I can help in any way please call me.”
- “How did you get started in foster parenting?”
There is so much beauty, so many unknowns and moments outside our comfort zones in foster parenting but every one of them are worthwhile.