We had a pool when I was growing up. I remember clearly that my siblings used to jump right in, where I would sit on the edge for what seemed like an eternity. I hated the shock of jumping into cold water (and I still do).
Unfortunately, some folks approach parenting, especially foster or adoptive parenting, the same way I approached the pool as a child. Generally the rationale that I have heard is that they want to see if it is something they can handle first. Or “it depends on the kid” they might get.
This post is really about being All In for Foster and Adoptive parents, but I will cover being All In for all of your children in another post.
For parents, not All In with their Foster or Adoptive children, you might have made statements like, “These are our children, and this is my foster child.” Or “He/She’s a foster kid.” Or even, “I have two children and a foster child.”
Do you see a pattern yet? I can guarantee the children get the message after the first statement. They get it loud and clear. There are “your” children, and then there are the “third wheels.” Your biological children will get the message that the other children are second class. So will the other children. You are teaching something harmful and dangerous.
If you are currently doing Foster or Adoptive care please take the following test:
- Have you ever found yourself getting frustrated with your foster or adopted child because of the sacrifices your biological are having to make?
- Have you ever found yourself reacting more defensively when your biological children were hurt by your foster or adopted children?
- Have you ever had second thoughts because the foster or adopted children are more work or have more problems than you expected?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, you are fooling yourself. You are not “All In.”
Here is another way to look at it. If you found out that your biological children were suffering from cancer, wouldn’t you do everything in your power to learn about how you could help them and provide every opportunity for them to get well? Why is that Foster and Adoptive children do not merit that same kind of dedication from you?
The short answer is, they do. When you sign up for Foster or Adoptive care, you are agreeing to be their parents for them until the Lord sees fit to do something different. If the children placed in your home by some legal means don’t merit that same kind of dedication as they ones placed in your home by birth, then you need to change your thinking and fast.
Children that come into your home via foster or adoptive placement are going to fight an uphill battle all their lives. You are making the hill even harder by tripping and pushing them down as soon as they start. In short, you, the God given source of support, encouragement and protection are in fact undermining discouraging and attacking them in subtle ways that you probably don’t see, but they surely do. You are slowly poisoning them with your double-minded thinking. If you think you are saving them from abuse when you are not All In, I have news. You are the new abuser. Your family will follow your lead. You set the tone and culture of the home. If you are not All In, they won’t be either.
If you want help on how you can get your thinking changed, please post a remark and I will do what I can for you. If you are just not sure, please do some deep soul-searching soon before you do more damage to the children you are supposed to be protecting. Your children deserve better.
If you can’t get All In, then I have one piece of advice for you: Get out.