There are often cringeworthy moments that happen as a potential foster-adoptive parent. Many of these can be the benignly awkward things that are said, while others can bear a bit more weight to them to the point of feeling either cutting or at least insensitively abrasive. Sure, such comments are made in a well-intentioned manner, but this typically never really softens the content of what is said. We offer up a reply with a pained smile before changing the subject and moving on.
From what we’ve made made aware of and in our experience so far in the foster-adoption process, there seems to be roughly two stages: the whirlwind of being matched with a child and the drama of everything after, or, the stage that typically comes before that which is simply one of waiting. Sure, there are so many more real things that happen during both of these periods, but once you’ve gone through the piles of paperwork, trainings, certifications, interviews, and a house inspection, everything else in between is just that, a time in between.
One of the ways that my wife and I handle the waiting process is by reading or listening to books on the subject of adoption and foster-adoption, or by watching documentaries and films on this theme. A couple of evenings ago, we decided to try and find an adoption-themed movie. After perusing some of the posts on the Adoptive Families website, we settled upon a film called Martian Child starring John Cusack, Bobby Coleman, Amanda Peet, and Oliver Platt. There are plenty of kid-age-friendly movies out there with foster/adoption themes (and this one pretty much is as well being rated PG), but we were looking for something slightly more from both the perspective of the child and the adoptive parents. (Note: the discussion below will discuss plot points and thus contain spoilers.)
I wanted to signal a couple of things. The first is that I’ve updated the Foster-Adoption Resources page quite extensively. It is in part based upon another list posted from an online friend of mine as well as heavily supplanted by my own research and reading.
Secondly, my wife recently told me about a podcast entitled Foster Parenting Podcast. In particular, this episode called “All the Dirt on Foster Care and Why You Should Still Do it.” It’s a really outstanding digest of a list of responses to a bunch of the things typically said to them—things that are said with a good intention but often end up being hurtful or at least spoken in an ignorance that isn’t helpful. The episode is very encouraging and comes highly recommended.
Unfortunately, the two hosts have decided to take a hiatus and have deleted a majority of the episodes of their podcast, but for an understandable reason. Thankfully, they’ve at least left up a good handful of their favorite episodes that have a more generalized approach (and also don’t contain some of the information that they would prefer to keep private now that their children are getting older). You can still find their remaining episodes on iTunes and they have an active Facebook page that is well worth checking out.
Lest readers of this space presume I know what I am talking about, rest assured that I am incredibly naïve about this prospect of foster-adoption. But isn’t that the nature of the thing, especially for a person (and a couple) who has never gone down this path before? And even then, if they have, isn’t every situation and child wonderfully unique so that in every circumstance, we all don’t know what we’re doing to some extent?
What is a vocation? Typically, when Christians hear this word, we usually think of either a “calling” or further, one’s “call” be a pastor, priest, etc. When I’ve met people and told them that I’ve received a PhD in Theology, they will often ask, “Are you in the ministry?” Historically, of course, this makes a good deal of sense, but it does not exactly provide a full picture of what the term “vocation” might actually mean, whatever degree one may or may not have earned.