By: Deirdre Littlefield
People are always intrigued when they find out that we bring foster children into our home. Most are polite, but you can often sense something else. Friends and strangers ask a range of questions. They wonder about the children’s behavior, where they came from and how we can let them go. Amazingly though, the number one question we get is: “Are you afraid of what they’ll teach your children?”
I try to understand their thought process without insult, but do feel judged as a parent and offended for all of the fantastic kids who have come into our home. These kids have taught my own children to be open, kind, generous and non-judgmental. They have taught my children to be thankful for their warm home and beautiful yard. There are two moments that always stand out in my mind when I’m asked this question.
My nineteen-year-old college student was home for break so we had no space to bring in kids for that period of time. Four days before Christmas my son overheard me apologize to a worker saying that all of our beds are full. He immediately replied, “Mom, I can sleep on the couch for a few days if it means that eight year old can have a holiday. Please give him my bed.”
The other standout moment is the day an eleven-year-old boy arrived without a jacket. We were heading to a cold rink so I let him wear one of my kid’s jackets. He said, “Wow, I’ve never gotten to wear a North Face before!” My nine year old and I shared a quiet glance. This little guy was excited just to have this jacket on his body. He spent the next ten days with us and was really such a great boy. The day he was leaving was a sad one. My nine-year-old son came out of his room and handed this boy the jacket to keep. The little boy’s streaming tears immediately turned into a smile. I know he was excited for a new jacket but more importantly, he knew he mattered. My son had shown him how special and worthy he was.
I am so thankful that my children get to learn the real meaning of life at their young age. I just hope they don’t teach those foster kids to swear while they’re here!