When you agree to take foster kids into your home, you ought to be agreeing to make them a part of your family. For better or for worse, they are your kids. Tomorrow they might go home or they might go to a treament facility or to a new foster home.
Today, they are your kids.
Wherever you take your kids, you take your foster kids. Going to the movies? Take your foster kids. Going to the mall? Take your foster kids. Going camping? Take your foster kids. Going to Disney World? TAKE YOUR FOSTER KIDS.
Many of the teens in foster care have never experienced things like vacation. They are excluded from family activities like these for a variety of reasons. A variety of reasons I don’t understand.
While I fully support the idea of using respite to have breathing time for kids and foster parents alike, I do not support the idea of using respite to exclude kids from family activities. Foster kids deserve inclusion in as many things as possible. If an activity is one that your foster kid can’t handle, you ought to seriously evaluate whether it is an activity your family ought to participate in.
One of my biological sons has severe ADHD. There are things he can’t handle. If we want to participate in these things, we have to adapt. Neither Daddy or I have any qualms about skipping something that might be a difficult environment for Man #1.
When I make the choice to parent children from hard places, I’m making the choice to adapt my life so that they can be a part of everything we do. If I’m not willing to do that, maybe I should seriously consider my decision to foster at all.
We were blessed this weekend to camp with three families who also have a ton of kids. One of those families is fostering a child. There was never any doubt that he would be camping with us. There was never a moment when he wasn’t entirely included. He is one of their kids, for better or for worse, no matter what. If that changes, they will mourn the loss of him. If it doesn’t, he’ll gain their last name. But in the meantime, he is their child and he goes where they go.
Kids from hard places are excluded from so many things. Please don’t let family vacations be one of those things!