Thursday, January 15, 2015

How I Describe the Kids {biological, adopted & foster} who Live in my House

If you are a foster parent, it can be tricky to describe your family as well as your kid count.  Throw in the dynamics of short term placements, long term placements with a return home goal, or long term placements that are heading towards you (or someone else) adopting that child, and you may find yourself attempting various ways & terms to describe your family.

A couple of years ago (after bumbling myself through the best way to describe how we sometimes had "extra" kids and a couple weeks later would have only "our" kids), I came up with a phrase that has worked beautifully in describing all the kids in our household at any given time.  If you are a foster parent, have foster siblings, or know a foster family, please feel free to use, share, and modify my phrase to best describe your family!

We currently have 6 children.  Four are officially ours.

In its most basic form, those words properly describe my kids without needing to give any additional details.  Because sometimes, the basic info is the most appropriate or--truth be told--all I desire to share.

Here is how I add extra info in various layers if I want to provide more information:

We currently have 6 children.  Four are officially ours.  
  • Kaitlin is 14.
  • Connor is 12.
  • Kylie is 10.
  • And Charlie is 2.
  • We also have two foster daughters; K who is 9 months, and B who is 4 months.
Sometimes I give the kids' names as well as their ages, and sometimes I don't (I'm not typing the babies' names here, but will say them when I use this scenario).  When I'm getting to know someone on a more personal level, I will share the fact that Charlie is adopted.  But I never provide that as primary information.

Because Mike is part of the pastoral staff at our church, every few months we host a First Connections lunch after service so newcomers can learn not just info about the church, but also get to know the pastors, directors, and their families a little bit better.  It was during those lunches that I honed in on the best way to describe our family to an audience.  Charlie was a baby, and it was so neat how his description changed every few months.

Flashback to the journey of Charlie (leaving out the big kids as their info remained consistent):
  1. And Charlie, who we are fostering, is 2 months.
  2. And our foster son Charlie is 7 months, and we just began his adoption process.
  3. And Charlie is 14 months, and we will complete his adoption out of foster care this fall.
  4. And Charlie is 18 months, and last week went from being our foster son to becoming our son!
I don't know what the future holds for our baby girls, but I know a couple of things:  I wholeheartedly love & claim them while they are living with us, and I enjoy sharing that we are foster parents in a way that doesn't 'dismiss' the girls from being an important part of our family.  May you find the same complete, individual way to describe your own household!  ~LeAnne

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