Thank You For Not Being A Foster Parent!

Author of 4 books, podcaster, parent trainer, wife and mother.

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Sometimes you encounter odd situations on the foster (or adoptive) parenting journey. They can take your breath away, deeply wound you, or leave you dumbfounded. We encountered a situation like this recently.

Last night Mike and I met friends for dinner. We share the common bond of parenthood, marriage, church, hometown community and foster parenting. During the first course, we talked about the stupid thing we did as young adults. By the main course, we lamented the ever growing need to monitor our students’ technology and the ins and outs of teen dating. By dessert, our conversation turned to foster care. We shared stories about little ones who haven’t slept in months as well as enthusiastically long prayers given by pre-schoolers at dinner time. We shook our heads at the hard parts and belly laughed at the funny bits.

Finally, the question, “Do you ever regret this?” All four of us collectively sighed, shaking our heads.

“I don’t regret it, even the hard things.”
“Me either.”
“Me, either.”
“Me, either.”

“Well, I regret it when I want a brown sugar and cinnamon pop-tart and they’re all gone!” We laughed.

“I regret it when there’s no more hot water and I haven’t showered in a week.” We laughed harder.

“I regret it when my 9 year old crawls into my bed and shoves his extra long toe nail/claws into my back.”

Our laughter roared.

That’s when I launched into a particularly theatrical retelling of the first time I had a foster child with medical special needs. I found out I would need to place an NG (nasogastric tube) to feed her every two hours. I took a crash course in tube feedings just in time to take the child home. Her constant feedings and seizure disorder often led to her subsequent vomiting of Pedia-sure all over my hair, clothes and shoes.
“I regret the vomit.”

We laughed until we cried.

That’s when the woman at the next table stood and walked toward us. She leaned close to our table, just inches from my husband’s chair, with a plastic smile across her face and steel eyes, “Thank you for sharing all of that stuff. You reminded me of why I’m glad I made the decision NOT to foster.” With the smile still plastered, she turned toward the door. We were in shock.

“Thank you for not fostering.” My friend said under her breath.

For a moment the mood was dampened. Was she insulting us? We wondered at her motive. We questioned ourselves. Had we given the impression that fostering is bad? We wondered out loud what had we done wrong?

Then we remembered, if it weren’t for this life, these challenges, joys, sorrows, failures and successes, we wouldn’t have the families we have. We remembered that the hard stories are the ones worth telling. It’s the uniqueness of this life that wakes us up each day wondering, what will happen next? Daily, we come face to face with our own shortcomings. We stand in awe as our children defy the odds and rise toward success. We have a front row seat to the blossoming of children who have faced hardship most of us can only imagine. We have the privilege of kissing our children goodbye as they return home to parents who have clawed their way through adversity to mend a broken family. We do our best each day to navigate a broken system with our own tattered spirit. We make mistakes and we fail, sometimes publicly. In the humiliation we have learned humility. Our character strengthens and grows as we have learned to see people for who they are and not for their circumstances.

Our character strengthens and grows as we have learned to see people for who they are and not for their circumstances.

I guess foster parenting isn’t the right fit for the lady who was eavesdropping on our conversation last night. Fostering isn’t for everyone. For me, it is everything. It has taught me to lay down my pride and arrogance. It has caused me to come face to face with deep brokenness, especially my own. Fostering has challenged me to rise above the hard things in life and celebrate the beauty of my children, of their birth families and even myself.

Have you ever encountered an odd or offensive situation like ours? Share your story with us in the comment section below.

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Mike and Kristin Berry are the Co-Founders of The Honestly Adoption Company and have been parents for nearly two decades. They are the authors of six books, and the host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is the executive assistant to Mike and Kristin Berry. And she is the best in the land. In addition to providing a warm and friendly response to the many emails our company receives on a weekly basis, she also manages Mike and Kristin’s speaking and meeting schedules, and makes sure that team events go off without a hitch.

Nicole Goerges

Nicole Goerges is a Content Contributor & Special Consultant for The Honestly Adoption Company. She works with Mike and Kristin as a recurring co-host for the Honestly Adoption Podcast, and co-host of Kitchen Table Talks, exclusive video content for Oasis Community, along with Kristin. She is a fellow adoptive mom, and former foster parent.

Matt McCarrick

Matt McCarrick is the Content Production Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. If you’ve loved listening to our podcast, or enjoyed any of the videos trainings we’ve published, you have Matt to thank. He oversees all of our content production, from video edits, to making sure the tags are correct on YouTube, to uploading new videos to Oasis, to hitting publish on a podcast episode, he’s a content wonder!

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the Community Engagement Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends the bulk of her time interacting with, and helping, people through our various social media channels, as well as providing support for Oasis Community members through chat support or Zoom calls. In the same spirit as Beaver, Karen is also passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and supported. Karen is also an FASD trainer and travels often, equipping and encouraging parents.

Beaver Trumble

Beaver Trumble is the Customer Care Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. Chances are, if you have been in need of technical support, or forgotten your password to one of our courses, you have interacted with Beaver. He is an absolute pro at customer care. In fact, he single-handedly revolutionized our customer care department last year. Beaver is passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and encouraged.

Kristin Berry

Kristin Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Content Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends most of her time researching and connecting with guests for our podcast, as well as direction, designing and publishing a lot of the content for our social media channels, blog and podcast. She loves to connect with fellow parents around the world, and share the message of hope with them.

Mike Berry

Mike Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Marketing Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. He spends the bulk of his time and energy designing and building many of the resources you see within our company, as well as social media and email campaigns. His goal is to use media as a means to encourage and equip parents around the world. He is also the co-host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.