Sunday, May 24, 2015

my biggest pet peeve

When it comes to foster care, a lot of people tire of hearing phrases like, "I could never give them back." Or, "You're such a saint."

And while those phrases grate on me something fierce, I've decided that my least favorite phrase to hear from anyone surrounding my kids is:
I want to take him home with me.
Or the close cousin:
Do you want to come home with me?
Those phrases are hurtful. They undermine everything I'm doing. And if the child is old enough to understand what they're hearing, they're scary as Hell to the child!!

Think about it...

This child just lost EVERYTHING they knew! They were moved to a strange home. They're being cared for by new people. EVERYTHING looks different. Feels different. Smells different. Sounds different. Tastes different.

They have a new bed. They have new clothes. They're using different body care products. The people around them talk differently. The food they're eating is new and very different.

This is true in EVERY single foster child's life!!!!

Have I emphasized how EVERYTHING is different for this child enough yet?!

Yes. They should be safe from further abuse now. But that is not enough to offset how incredibly upside-down their world is. These kids, in most cases, WANT their family back. Of course they want their family and they want a life without neglect and abuse. But ultimately...they want their family back. They want their normal back.

The LAST THING they want to do is go to ANOTHER HOME!!

So Miss Lady at the Hair Cutting Salon...I know you meant well. I know you didn't mean to say that you'd love to become a foster parent and you're ready to take all the trainings, undergo the background checks, and open your entire life to the scrutiny of a licensing agency and/or the State. You just wanted to express how cute my kid is.

You're guilty too Miss Social Worker at the licensing agency. And Miss Check Out Clerk at the grocery store. And Miss Nurse at the doctor's office. (Different kids. Same story. My kids were cute and strangers offered to take them home with them.)

I've heard this phrase tooooooo many times!

Dear reader, if you are guilty of saying this to anyone else's child, please consider dropping it from your vocabulary. Even the most secure of children could be frightened of the thought of being sent to a stranger's home.

Tell me my child is cute. Tell me he looks like a fun child to care for. Tell me how lucky I am. But please, please, please, don't tell me you want to take my child home with you!


Anonymous said...

Even my born-to-me children feel/felt that way! For a child with trauma removal........ wow.
Hope you are having a good holiday weekend and that Mr.Amazing gets to enjoy it away from work.
Will there be cousins camp this summer? Do you have any idea if Russell will/might be allowed to attend?
As always, Much Appreciation for who you are and what you do and the gift you and your family are to our world.
AND, THANK YOU for letting annoy post!

G said...

Amen, amen, amen!

I especially hate the child-care caregiver that told my foster child she is going to "steal him one of these days."

Yes, that's going to help him sleep better at night, since it's so different from what actually happened to him in reality when the stranger (social worker) came and took him away from his mother!

Ugh. People need to THINK before they TALK.

Emily said...

I had someone say to my 9-year-old recently, "You're so cute that one of these days, someone is going to break into your house and steal you away in the night." She looked at me with HUGE eyes because she has been kidnapped before, and it remains her biggest fear. I gave her a simple nod, and she politely but firmly asked the woman to never say anything like that to a child again, because it is scary and causes nightmares. The woman was totally taken aback, and she apologized profusely. But I dealt with the fallout of that comment for two weeks before M recovered. People mean well, but they just don't understand how damaging a few simple words can be.

Megan Elford {WelcomeToTheZoo} said...

Yes, yes and yes! I have a toddler that is too young to understand that people aren't being serious. Several people have asked him to come home with them. He always says yes (he's always eager to please) and then he's totally confused when he doesn't actually go with them! And yes, even a social worker has said it to him. I never understand why people say things like that to kids they know are in care :-/.

Annie said...

I have a vivid childhood memory of some woman telling my mother I was so cute she'd "love to take me home" with her. Probably I sensed from my oh-so-sensible mom the "you're ridiculous" vibes, because that is exactly what I thought. (Of course we were not even allowed overnights.)

People constantly say the stupidest things. Usually I find it amusing, until they say them to my children.