There is no way around it – there are a lot of eyes on you when you’re a foster parent.
The child’s social worker. The child’s Guardian Ad Litem. The children’s biological parents. Therapists. And pretty much everyone that knows that she or he is a foster child. We have already experienced our 2! TWO! year old being overly criticized for her behavior at daycare, with the suspicion that she is watched closely because…. she’s a foster child, you know.
So imagine if you will, that any given month of parenting your child you have all of these extra people involved in your life. Interrupting dinner. Throwing off the schedule. Doing surprise “checks” on the child at daycare or school, or even your house. Judging you. Judging your foster children (who by now, in your heart, are your children).
It’s hard. I’m not saying it’s harder than any “typical” parenting, but it’s hard. And it’s different.
And we panic all the time, under that feeling of being judged. When we took our 2 year old to the doctor for hurting her ankle, the doctor asked intense questions (how often does she fall? would you say she ‘falls’ more than 3-4 times a week? how long have you been her foster parent again?) that made me feel like I was being interrogated for a 2 year old, who is accident prone, because she’s two! People indicate that we are overly sensitive to these kind of remarks, and likely that’s very true… because we have so many people to prove that we are good parents too. Good enough. Better than the alternative.
And then there is the flip side. All of the comments of “I don’t know how you do it!” “Those kids are so lucky!” “Your family is amazing!” I love these comments, they make me feel good, but also I want to say… that our family is no better than your family. We are not saints. You could do this, absolutely, if it was something that you wanted to do. It’s hard, but so many things in life are hard – aren’t they?
So, if you’ve ever considered being a foster parent – explore the idea! Because even though it’s crazy, and you deal with a lot, the payback is overwhelmingly worth it. Because you are a child’s advocate, protector, safe place to land. And so many children out there need that. So, our house has a revolving door now, c’mon in, whomever you are and judge away.
Because we’re doing the very best we can. Just like you are.
And every day, I hope it’s enough. Not for all of the people judging, but for the children entrusted to our care. It’s their opinions that matter to Casey and I.
“ It’s not where you come from, It’s where you belong. Nothing I would trade, I wouldn’t have it any other way…You’re surrounded by love and you’re wanted, So never feel alone…. You are home with me, right where you belong.” ~Kari Kimmel