Monday, January 9, 2012

How do I answer that?

Children in foster care sometimes have complicated pasts and beginnings.
We are discovering some of the questions asked in our home and out in public are a
little hard to answer, already.

I wanted to document some questions we have heard from our children and those around us.
You might have some of the same questions.

Are they all yours?
"Yep, we are very blessed."  (Plain a simple.)

Did you adopt them?  Are those your biological children?"
If you are a stranger I want to say, "How did you conceive your children?"
"None-ya...none-ya business."

The nosy stare, with no question.
If the stare becomes uncomfortable I smile and say, "They look just like me don't they?"

Do they have the same dad?
Again, a bit personal so I wish to say, "Yes and they all have the same mom too.  You are looking at her."
But I usually simply say, "Yes."

Did the mom use drugs?
"We really don't discuss their birth family."
What I want to add, "No, and not every birth parent is a drug user and even if she was, do you think asking that around my kids is appropriate."

Where is their birth parents?
"We really don't discuss their birth family.  We feel it is their story to tell some day."
More on birth parents in a later post.

What if they take them away/you don't get to adopt them?  I could never handle that.
"You'll find me on a bar stool somewhere (I say with a grin.) but we are very hopeful it will work out." 
But honestly, we feel like God wouldn't put this in our hearts if he weren't prepared to help us see it through.
Also, one of the lawyers once told me that a good day is never wasted especially for a child in foster care, so I do worry and pray for a finalization but I try to keep that in mind.

Who does their hair?
I am now happy to say, "I do."
I am getting pretty good at two strand twists and puffs.
I have come along way from my first post about Black Hair for the White Mom.
I hope to learn a few more styles soon from my dear friend, G.

Are you crazy?
"A little bit, but I was before children."
It's Almost Naptime, blogged about it HERE in regards to her plans for an international adoption.
She found herself replying, "Because I just can't stand the thought of kids in orphanages."
We both felt a call to adopt a long time ago and here we are.  It is not
for everyone but it is for us.
Mr. Anderson of the Anderson Crew wrote about obeying a call even when we don't fully understand the how's and why's.  Check it out HERE.

How do you do it with five?
Lots of people have more kids than me and do a much better job.  Five is just becoming my new normal just like two used to be my "normal."  I jokingly told one woman, "I drink."  Not true but it made us both laugh.  I told another that,  "I yell a lot and sometimes I cry." (This may or may not be true on any given day.)  I get stressed and overwhelmed.  However, I am trying to perceive it as being "overcome by blessings" vs. "stressed" but I haven't consistently gotten there quite yet. 

Where are they from?
I usually get a weird look.  Maybe people assume that we adopted internationally.  No harm done.
Is adoption expensive?
It can be, however, adoption through foster care costs little to nothing.

Now for questions our kids have asked...
(These are usually the hardest!)

What does foster care mean?
"It means that we will love and care for children who need a family for as long as they need us."

Why can't kids live with their birth families?
"Sometimes parents have trouble keeping themselves and their children safe 
and healthy so they need others to help."
(This answer is over simplified, I know.  We will need to expand our answer when it is age appropriate.)

Did I come out of your belly too?
"Nope.  Some of the kids in this family came out of my belly and some did not but God has brought us all together to be a family."

General questions about coming to us from another home for CM are by far the hardest.  We completely value the biological connection that our youngest girls share but we do not want to send a message that being biological siblings is the most important thing. We do not want a conscious or subconscious divide of 3 vs. 2.  
We have talked about birth parents and (foster) families that love and care for us until we are together with our forever families.  I often say to her, "It is a little hard to understand and you can ask me about it any time."
When she looks sad I tell her that it is okay to be sad and it is okay to miss the people she loves 
and that they love and miss her too.  

The question that hit the hardest...
As we were driving along and having a great time, CM asked, "When is ____ going to pick me up?"
How quickly we forget that 3 year olds don't grasp time yet.

While adoption, or more accurately, our dream of adopting soon is something we are very passionate about, we are careful not to forget that there can be many losses that occur when a family is built this way.
We are just thrilled to have all of us together and are hopeful for 2012 to be the year of finalizations.

I know that I will and have made mistakes so we pray for help answering the
hard questions as they come up along the way.

Feel free to ask questions and I will answer them as honestly as I can. 
I have no problem talking to good intentioned people about foster care or adoption.  
I am passionate about it and I'd love to see more people consider it or understand it.
I am, however, very careful when my children are listening.
So fire away.

Also, I just came across my 2009 post about Mixed Responses to Foster Care and Adoption.
It was before we got a our beautiful JJ.  Wow, that feels like so long ago.

1 comment:

emily anderson said...

loved this post---thanks for linking :)
i can relate to so many of those questions/answers.