Over the last few years, we’ve heard every kind of comment/question you could imagine:
“I could never do that. I’d get too attached.”
“Are you ever going to have any real kids?”
“You know you’ll be stuck with him forever.”
…but the all-time worst comment has to be from one late night at the grocery store. Thankfully none of the boys were there. The woman in line behind me heard me mention being a foster mom of eight boys. She exclaimed “You’re a foster mom?! How great! I foster cats!”
Did that woman just compare foster care of children who’ve been abused, neglected, and abandoned to caring for *cats?! That was one of the many times my sweet husband had to remind me to just breathe and understand that the woman was only trying to make a connection. She wasn’t intentionally being stupid; she just represented an entire population of well-meaning, ignorant people. I’m sure I’ve even said such insensitive words to others in their grief and my weak attempt to make a connection. To those of you who fit that category, thank you for showing me grace. I had no idea I was being a jerk.
In the midst of such idiocy, however, there have also been plenty of uplifting, straight-to-the heart comments and looks that got us through rough times:
“Hang in there.”
“I’m praying for you.”
“Could you use an extra crock pot?”
Those who have been the kindest have usually been folks who have experienced immense grief, whether it is tangible or ambiguous (more on that in a later post). They seem to have greater understanding of loss than most and speak without the desire to “fix” our situation. Sometimes we foster parents need practical help, but most of the time we just need someone who will listen.
*Speaking of cats, the one above is named Griffin. He’s a resident of our favorite bed and breakfast near Santa Fe. He enjoys chasing mice, stealing socks, and listening to my frustrations without judgment.