I read a blog today on foster care. I decided not to link to it b/c I want to honor the author, but I need to speak. I need to write a different perspective. It has been burning in me far too long not to share.
For those who have posted or shared the link to “the other blog” I am about to tread into some waters, that might feel uncomfortable to you. You might not agree. That is OK. We can love one another and have a good profitable discussion right?
We are missing a huge piece of the foster care puzzle. Not all “these” kids are unwanted. They have families. They have parents. Yes they may have put their children in at risk situations. Yes they may have messed up deeply or again and again. Yes they may have even harmed their children.
But to make a blanket statement that the children would be nowhere without us, boasts of something that does not sit well with me. No offense or judgment to the author- I understand her heart and appreciate what she is doing…just asking us to raise our eyes a bit.
We need to be about holistic healing.
Bio family and all. We are not saving them. We need to be arms of love and compassion to the whole family. Hurting people hurt others. Where is our compassion for the hurting adults in the equation? Who, I bet, were hurting at risk children themselves.
I understand that in some situations children do not need to return to their bio families. But to ask “who really wants these kids” is a generalized statement that sensationalizes and moves us to “pity” them. I bet their broken-hearted families do. Even if they are too covered in shame, embarrassment, addiction, or fear to admit it. I bet they want them. Deep in their hearts they wish they were free to live and love and provide for their kids. But they aren’t.
We need to reframe our thinking. We need to think about the bigger picture. We need to lay down our stereotypes of what good parenting is. We need to lay down racial prejudices that get in the way of seeing birth families culture and different ways of living as something that can be celebrated rather than judged. Not all cultures parent the way white evangelical parents do and that does not mean they don’t want or love their kids. (Feels good to finally say that)
We need to SEE our foster and adopted children’s parents as human beings to be treated and talked about with dignity and grace. Compassion and truth. Love and humility. Understanding and empathy. Our children’s self-esteem, our reflection of the gospel, and very possibly a family’s need for healing depend on it.
Want to add this link written by a dear friend and adoptive and foster mom. It is worth your time to read: Where the church is getting fostercare all wrong
Adding another post that calls us to grace and compassion: The Story of a Birthmother
(One additional thought I promise this is not directed at one particular person or blog. This is in response to a larger mindset I have been feeling for half a decade. Phrases and words that tear down not build up. That wound not restore. Words that set it up “us as against them” and “us as the good guy rescuers vs them as the bad guys”. It is about HONOR. It was just time to speak.)