I’m going to do my best to give you, foster and adoptive parent who feels isolated, a voice right now. You who’ve grown tired of fielding question after question after question about your child’s special need, recent public outburst, suspension, arrest or social shortcomings. I’m going to do everything in my power to walk in your shoes and let you know you are not alone. I want you to know, as we begin, that your family’s business is nobody else’s business on the face of God’s green earth!
I’m tired. Seriously….tired. So tired, I can’t see straight. I’m tired of the questions…glares….well-meaning but judgmental glances…eye-rolls they think I can’t see. For every amazing, understanding person we encounter, there’s that one who just misconnects altogether. Or worse, thinks it’s his or her job to parent my child, or pry into the details of why we can’t right now. Yes, I’m tired. The prying! The haughty glances! That look I get when I give encrypted answers! Tired of it all. As if I owe anyone in this world an explanation of my child’s behavior? As if I need to explain away his choices, or share his current circumstances? Fact is, his story is not public knowledge…ever.
Are you feeling validated? I hope so. I told you you were not alone.
I get you. I see you. I understand. And I want you to know a few things…
You don’t owe an ounce of an explanation to anyone in this world. Because, much like me, you probably aren’t ready to talk about your child’s story. Perhaps you never will be, and that’s okay. No where in the foster or adoptive parenting manual (as if there ever was one to begin with), did it say, “Must share full-blown details with every human being that asks.” Nope. You don’t. And believe me, they will ask. In the grocery store…at the mall…at the baseball diamond…in your own front yard. Human beings are curious to begin with. We slow down for car accidents, not just because there are rescue vehicles, and traffic is merging, but also because….we want to see what happened. We have this need to reassure ourselves that someone else’s tragedy is not our own.
We’re sympathetic, and sometimes empathetic if the shoe fits, but, glancing in to someone else’s disaster is a relief to us, when said disaster hasn’t struck us personally. And that’s the root of the questions you receive about your child. Well-meaning people (sometimes) who probably are sympathetic (hopefully) but are thinking, “Glad it’s you and not me.” And for them, that’s okay. It’s okay to think this way…as long as it doesn’t cross into judgmental territory (which it often does).
At the end of the day, your child’s story is his story, her story, your story…and no one else’s. If you’re tired of the prying, the glances, the unending questions, or just the look down the nose….I’m with you my friend. I get it too. There’s a person who lives near us who thinks it’s their job to parent one of my children for us and it’s exhausting. Not only parenting, but question after question. Frustrating. This is the part of the post where I wish I could use the Facebook angry emoji. We’re already on display as a family. But, the storyline of some of our kids has thrust into situations where we’ve felt exposed, and spotlighted. We love them deeply so we fiercely guard most of those details.
Because of this, I’m not ready to talk about my kid’s story. I’m not ready to share the details of everything we’ve walked through. I’m not ready to share how many nights we’ve laid awake hoping, praying, wishing, and praying some more. I don’t want to answer any more questions, or explain anything else away. You don’t either and that’s okay.
Have you fielded question after question about your child’s story? Share your story with us in the comment section below…