The “F” Word

Guest post by Denise Beeman Sasiain, foster mother to Summer, 17, who will stay with her foster family as she enters adulthood; Isabella Hope, 3, who they’ve had since birth and adopted last year; Xavier (aka X-man), 2, who they are in the process of adopting; and Daniella Joy, 1, who they’ve also had from birth and recently adopted.

In our home, we absolutely, positively don’t use the “F” word. We don’t like it. We try never to refer to our children, especially in their presence, as a “foster” child.

My daughters and I were at a mother’s day tea party and someone asked me if Summer, our 17 year old was mine. Although Summer is still not, and probably won’t be, up for adoption before she ages out of the system, she still is my daughter. I wholeheartedly answered “Yes, I got her when she was 15.” And that was the end of the discussion.

I applaud the concept of the term “foster child,” in which children are cared for in homes other than their own.  Although my husband and I salute the concept of fostering and the history of the word, to us, on an interpersonal level, it signifies that a child is different from our other children.  The word “foster” implies emotionally that they don’t quite belong.  Although it is an accurate legal description, it doesn’t work for our family.

From a legal standpoint, it is important that they are not identified as a foster child, but I say that from an emotional standpoint, it is just as important. Children need to attach and to belong!

Whether a child will be with us for a few weeks, years or permanently, they all become equal members in standing.  They all receive the same love, concern and care. They are all my kids! Even if they are planning and yearning to return to their moms and dads, they are still a member of our family, albeit temporarily. I tell them they just have a second family.

Denise and husband Pierre

Denise and husband Pierre

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