Will it disrupt their lives? What about birth order? Will it take away from time our kids are owed by us? Is this going to make our kids feel pushed to the side? If you have had these, or other concerns, for your biological kids when it comes to stepping into foster care, you are not alone!
This week we are wrapping up Season 9 of The Honestly Adoption Podcast. Be sure to listen in as Mike talks with Jason Johnson, author of Reframing Foster Care: Filtering Your Foster Parenting Journey through the Lens of the Gospel. Jason shares honestly about the fears, and will encourage you to reframe how you think about how foster care might affect your biological children.
Notes and Quotes:
In your book, you talk about fears and concerns parents have for their biological kids when choosing to open their home to foster care. Can you talk about that?
“As parents we are naturally inclined to want to isolate and insulate our kids from things that are hard…however…the essence of the book is about reframing our thinking…”
“Confirmation bias” is when we think through our own bias lenses, and then we gather pieces of evidence around us to confirm our own bias.”
“We think through a limited scope often and then we support our own limited thinking through our own gathering of information to support it.”
A good friend steps in and shows us our negative bias and challenges us to think differently.
Especially when thinking about starting this foster care or adoption journey we can get sucked into this confirmation bias and it might look like this:
- “It’s going to have negative consequences on our bio kids and disrupt their lives and here’s all the pieces of evidence I can gather to support that claim.”
We need someone to step in and say, “Let’s look at that from a different perspective…Good, that is a good think to think about, but let’s also think better and grab more healthy thoughts about that.”
“We found that once we got into it, SO many of those concerns fell away. We were concerned about a lot of things on the front end that, once we got into, it proved not to be concerns at all.”
“I’m glad that they’ve seen those things and experienced those things…What a unique perspective on the world our daughters are being offered.”
“We want our girls to feel the weight of this, but we don’t want our girls to resent this.”
There’s a hazy line there somewhere, and it’s constantly shifting, and as parents we are constantly aware of it and trying to discern, “where is that?” We make decisions as best as we can from that.
“I used to be concerned about the effects that bringing kids from foster care into our home would have on our bio kids. Now, after the fact, I’m more concerned about the effects NOT bringing them into our home.”
[shareable cite=”Jason Johnson”]This has given our daughters a gift, that we (as mom and dad) would have never been able to give them on our own.[/shareable]
“My kids have learned what compassion is, and what unconditional love is.” – Mike Berry
What about those who say, “Yeah…BUT…I’m still fearful!” ?
Practically, here are some things to remember and do:
- You don’t have to do anything that you don’t want to do when you do foster care.
- You can be wise and be a good steward when choosing what your family can handle.
- Remember you are usually more capable of a little more than you think you are.
- Start small. Just start by getting to know some foster families a little better.
- Watch some of your myths be debunked or clarified by watching others on the journey.
[shareable cite=”Jason Johnson”]So many of our questions and so many of our fears are answered and alleviated within the context of community.[/shareable]
- Attend an event like Refresh Conference or CAFO Summit to begin surrounding yourself with community
- You are not alone when prayerfully questioning, doubting, and thinking about beginning to do foster care.
What last words of hope and encouragement can you give our listeners when it comes to how foster care might affect their biological kids?
“We read stories in Scripture of regular people doing kind of strange things and of God producing really unbelieveable outcomes through them. And we love them…but we don’t believe they actually can happen with us. ”
[shareable cite=”Jason Johnson”]We can just be regular people. We don’t have to be superheroes, or rockstars, or Saints. We don’t have to be the Savior. Not only do we not have to be, but we’re not even supposed to try to be.[/shareable]
“As much as I want to fix, and as much as I want to save, and as much as I want to snap my fingers and make all things right, I simply can’t. I just need to free myself from the burden of trying to be that or do that.”
“That’s when God says, ‘Now that I’ve got you where I want you, let’s get some work done! Watch this!’
“He goes far beyond anything we could have expected.”
I’ll be honest, there have been times where my wife and I have said, ‘Let’s just be done with this thing…or let’s take a long break.’ And our kids have been the ones to encourage us to keep going.”
“Initially I was concerned about the effects it would have on them, only to find out they’re the ones that are pushing it the most. For me, that is evidence of God saying, ‘Hey look, once I get you out of the way, I’m going to show you some things that you would not have believed had I told you before.'”
“We’ve seen God change our family, through foster care, and through the perspective shifting, heart changing opportunities that have been brought to our biological daughters and to our family.”
“Be free from the burden of trying to control everything. And be free from the burden of trying to save or to fix or to even be enough.”
“We can celebrate the fact that when we are finally in that place of freedom, that’s when God says, ‘Alright, buckle up. Watch this.’ It’s just really unbelievably beautiful ride when we’re able to get there.”
Resources and Links:
All quotes above are from Jason Johnson (unless noted).
Jason Johnson and his wife Emily became foster parents in 2012, they live in Texas and have four daughters. Following years of pastoral ministry and church planting experience, Jason now spends his time working with Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) equipping churches and encouraging families on their foster care and adoption journeys. Jason is also a speaker, coach, and blogs regularly at www.jasonjohnsonblog.com.
Check out Jason’s books
[reminder]What did you fear most about foster care before you were a foster parent? If you are just thinking about becoming a foster parent, what fears do you have? [/reminder]