Talking about and working with birth families in foster care can be tricky. Many foster parents are hesitant to interact with a child's birth family and would typically rather avoid the topic altogether. It's easy to justify that the child's family did something for their child to be in this situation. Although that may be true, that doesn't mean that they don't love their child. After 6 years as a foster parent, I have yet to meet a birth family who did not clearly love their child. We know that many of our kids' birth families come from adverse circumstances themselves and often lack the support system many of us enjoy as foster parents.
As we've already written about here, reunification is the goal in foster care and we know that outcomes are better for children who are able to remain with or return to their birth family. Consider the perspective of former foster youth and adult adoptee, Mercedes Russaw: "I would just say for . . . adoptive mothers or fathers, that fear that's associated with your child digging into their past and trying to figure out who they are, that's the process. That fear, for one, is a lie because they can love two people . . . For me personally, I love both of my moms, but I love them very differently based on my experience with them." You can hear more of her story on Episode 2 of Foster Movement Podcast.
So, as foster parents, if we truly care about the children placed in our homes, it stands to reason that we will truly care about their birth family as well. After all, no matter what the outcome of the child's situation, as foster mom and blogger Jamie Finn of Foster the Family reminds us, "Birth family is forever family, too."« Back to Blog