Dear person who has considered fostering or adopting,
I get that foster care and adoption are very big steps. I get that they do in fact irrevocably change a family’s dynamic. I get that it is just plain scary. Whenever I tell someone that I am a foster parent and that I have adopted, there is often a look of wonder, followed by the statement “Oh, I’ve thought about doing that. But….” It doesn’t matter what follows the “but”, because there always is one. As a current foster parent, I have become an expert on the excuses people use to not do what I do. From being too busy, not having enough money, not wanting to affect your bio kids, the list goes on and on.
However, I want you to think about something else next time you are “thinking about it”. Think about the fact that every night, a kid has to sleep in a shelter because there is no where else for them to go. Every night, a kid is stuck in a sleeping bag under a social workers desk in an office because even the shelters are full. They don’t have a choice about when they “think they are ready” They don’t get to put off being in foster care for “just a few years”. They don’t even have the dignity of an actual bed. What do you think that tells an already hurting kid about what the world thinks they are worth? While you are waiting for an ideal time to reach out, these kids are going unreached.
Of course I understand that adoption isn’t for everyone, and not everyone is cut out to be a full time foster parent. It is demanding, gutwrenching work. But I wonder, as I paste a smile on my face and nod at your excuses, could you take a kid for a single weekend? Could you put up a kid in a guest bedroom for one night? The calls that I most often get are people seeking a place for one kid, for a night or two, until they can move them again. Foster care doesn’t have to immediately turn your entire life upside down. For a grieving kid, a single night in an actual house on a real bed makes a difference.
Not everyone can or should walk the path of adoption and long-term fostering that R and I have chosen. But if more people like you who are always “thinking about it” could do something, anything instead lf being paralyzed by fear and apathy, the world would be that much safer for these precious, hurting kids.