This was written by my friend Jaklin you should read her blog. She and her husband are becoming licensed foster parents. YAY!
Everyman's Guide to Talking with Foster Parents
We have been so incredibly humbled by the outpouring of support from our friends and family about our new foster parenting journey! That being said, Nick and I have noticed that not everyone knows what to say when we share that we are going to foster (or rather, people don't know what questions to ask). Understandable, because it's not a subject most people know about -- that includes us up until a few months ago... and we're still learning!
So we've put together theEveryman's Guide to Talking with Foster Parents. You can use these phrases below to easily communicate with those in the foster process.
Conversation Part 1-
Fostering Fred: Hi, Alex.
Average Alex: Hi, Fred.
Fostering Fred: We are starting the process to become foster parents.
Average Alex: That's neat. I grew up with a foster kid down the street who shot at cats with a BB gun.STOP HERE! While this might be true, maybe wait a few minutes before you drop this bomb on them.Instead, you can reply with…Congratulations! That’s so exciting. May God bless you on your journey.
Conversation Part 2-Fostering Fred: Thanks. We are really excited.Average Alex: You know, my best friend's neighbor adopted from Guatemala too.
STOP HERE! This can be a confusing one. Adopting internationally and fostering domestically are very different.
Instead, you can reply with…Are you planning on straight fostering? Or fostering to adopt?Conversation Part 3-
Fostering Fred: We are planning to straight foster children that need a safe place to live while their biological families are in crisis. However, we will be licensed to adopt should the opportunity present itself.Average Alex: Wow. I could never do that because I would love the child too much to give them back. I would get too attached.
STOP HERE! While this can come from a well meaning place, this statement implies that the foster parent doesn't love them enough and will not get attached.
Instead, you can reply with…Wow. The Lord is going to teach you wonderful things about grace, forgiveness, and unconditional love. Conversation Part 4-Fostering Fred: We are going to have to start turning the guest bedroom into the children's room.Average Alex: Wait, so are you guys having fertility problems?
STOP HERE! While God has different paths for each family, we recommend getting to know the couple's story more before you assume they are having fertility problems.
Instead, you can reply with…
What age range are you going to take?
Here are some other helpful questions to ask when talking to foster parents.
Are you fostering through a private agency or through Child Protective Services?
Do you have other preferences such as race and gender?
How many kids will you be licensed to have in your home.
HERE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION - How can I help?Now practice these phrases a few times with a partner. In no time you'll be talking to foster parents with ease.