A comment on a previous entry said that a family should not consider fostering children until their biological children are raised. The commenter said that the welfare of the biological children is at stake by bringing foster children into the home. Most of the foster parents that I know have biological children at home as well. If no one with biological children at home would foster children, we would probably have to regress to keeping children in orphanages. Let’s face it; few older people or childless people are willing to open their homes to abused or neglected children. Some do, my mother is a foster parent of teenage girls, also a senior citizen on social security. A frequent reader, John, also a senior citizen on social security, adopts only older boys.
I was a bit disgusted by the comment to tell the truth. Should all infants and toddlers entering foster care be placed with senior citizens? Not that I plan to die soon, my grandmother lived to 86, but it could happen. Would we end up with an entire generation of foster/adopted children orphaned by dying senior parents during their difficult teenage years? Should we expect our adult children to raise our adopted children when we are too feeble?
That wasn’t the only reason I was disgusted by the notion. We are not talking about bringing poisonous or constrictor snakes into our homes. We are talking about children. Living and breathing people, with feelings and needs, who deserve a chance to enjoy childhood.
In some ways, it was easier for the foster children coming in to have children their ages at home. Frequently, these traumatized children mistrust adults. Yet, they are willing to talk, bond, and trust the other children. We didn’t need to think about what the new children should do, we just signed them up for whatever our children were doing. Our foster children went to youth group, took riding lessons, joined 4-H, and played sports.
Did my children ever get hurt or learn something sooner than they should have? Yes, they did. However, birth children hurt each other sometimes too. Children learn things at school, neighbors’, and friends’ houses all the time. Children also have injuries while playing at these places.
My children learned compassion for others. They learned to share with those who had nothing. They know how important it is to volunteer and help others. They know that the world needs reform and they are the next generation.
Photo Credit: 2007 Julia Fuller.