Fostering Teens and The “A” Word (Blog #28)

Author:  Julie H., Foster Mom

I feel like the “A” word is a secret word that shouldn’t be said. As a foster parent to Miss D and other teens, and talking to many other foster parents of teens, we tread very lightly over the use of the “A” word. I have been avoiding this blog content for a while, but it’s time to face my fear: Adoption. There, I said it. It’s not because foster parents of teens don’t want to adopt their foster kids, it’s because we don’t know how the teen would feel about it.

It’s comparable to when you are in a new relationship with a romantic partner. Who and when the “L” word comes up is somewhat a delicate matter. In case you don’t know what the “L” word is, it’s LOVE. 🙂 Was it said too soon? Who said it first? Was everyone on the same page? Words matter!

With the word Adoption, as foster parents, you don’t know what your teen thinks about it. Many times teens are “newer” to the foster world, so they have strong connections with their birth parents and for them to think about adoption is just too much to handle emotionally. And when you foster a teen who has been in the system for a long time, they inevitably have been disappointed by previous placements that haven’t worked out. They build up a wall of defense. You too will disappoint them. For us, the word “Adoption” popped up (from Miss D) after over a year of knowing us and (here’s the key) after her biological dad had a conversation with her about it and encouraged her to consider it. My husband also had a very open and honest conversation with dad as well. But, it’s out there now. We say it openly. We say it openly to our kids. We say it openly to friends. We discuss it with Miss D. Miss D discussed it with us. Adoption. See? I’m brave now!  

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