Foster families get lots of questions. Most are well-intentioned from friends and families wanting to understand foster care and how they can help. Some from strangers (or even from friends) can be invasive, uncomfortable, or just uninformed. Sometimes it is not the question as much as the time and place. In the freezer section at Walmart. In front of your children innocently waiting to buy an ice cream cone. In the middle of a toddler tantrum at the park. It feels like strangers can always find you at the worst time and ask the exact question that pushes you to your tipping point.
When your family doesn’t match, you get used to awkward questions and funny looks in public. They aren’t always negative; in fact, the interactions that I have in public are largely positive. For some reason the Chick-Fil-A play area is where I have some of the deepest conversations about foster care. There was one Saturday where three Chik-Fil-A guests commented on how beautiful our family was, what great parents we were, and how sweet our kids were in the span of an hour. Maybe we just spend way too much time in Chick-Fil-A, but you can’t beat it when all three picky eaters will eat their food AND play independently for more than an hour. [Pro-tip for families, just buy the 30 count nuggets and a large fry to share rather than individual kids’ meals and it will save you money.]
Here is how foster parents can answer awkward questions in public- whether you want to make light or take a chance to inform others about foster care. These responses are gathered from REAL foster parents:
Where did you get them from?
Where is their real mom? Is she on drugs?
What’s this one’s story?
Do you get to keep this one?
But, don’t you want your own kids?
They really don’t look like either of you?
Are they adopted? Do you want to adopt them?
Are they real siblings?
You have a lot of kids. Are they really all yours?
Have you heard about the foster care (insert horror story from the news)?
Navigating the chaotic world of foster care can be challenging. Don’t go it alone! Join our SHAREfostering community for feedback and encouragement from other foster parents.
Want to share your foster care knowledge and experience with your network so they don’t ask these 10 questions (or other iterations) to people they don’t know… even if it is totally well-intentioned? Host a SHAREfostering event online or in person. We’ll walk you through all the steps to be successful.
Maybe just wear a SHAREfostering T-shirt out in public. You may get questions about foster care, but they’re usually about learning more and getting connected. Anything to take the attention off your “mis-matched” family.