To Love Adoptive and Foster Families: Let Our Kids Be Kids
I regularly write about trauma, grief, and special needs among vulnerable kids. We need to be writing, reading, and talking about those topics. But sometimes I think those conversations can be othering to the kids we love.
Let’s let our kids be kids, no matter how they arrived in our families.
As for my children, they love swings and slides. They stall at bedtime. They have prized toys and special blankies and favorite colors. They’ll do almost anything to earn time to play games on the iPad. They’ll all suit up as superheroes – four Wonder Women, one Flash, and one Green Lantern, with Wonder Woman mom and Superman dad – tomorrow for Halloween.
Their stories and the stories of other kids in adoptive and foster placements might be more complex than the typical kid. They might talk about more than one mother, or they might only recognize their adoptive parents as mom and dad. They might have been held by their adoptive parents on the day they were born, or they might have hit puberty before having a family, or they might still be waiting to be adopted, or they might be in a foster home temporarily before being reunited with their biological family. They might have switched foster homes more than military kids switch schools. They might be open about their backgrounds or they might not be, but either way they get to own their pasts without anyone expecting them to satisfy someone else’s selfish curiosity. Their worst day ever might be much darker and traumatic than the worst days experienced or even imagined by most adults. They might have been called an orphan in the past, but they’re not orphans anymore.
But they are kids, first and foremost.
Welcome them as you would any other child.
Love them, cheer them on, and tell them how much God loves them.
Let them be kids.