Thursday, June 26, 2014

Privacy in Foster Care

Let me tell you something about privacy in foster care. It doesn't exist.

No, really.

Our life is an open book. Literally. There is a file at our agency that chronicles our lives. Among other things, it includes five page papers about each of our family's history, feelings toward our family before age 12 and after, about how Andy and I met, and names, ages, and current cities of all of our immediate family members (FYI family, they know how to find you).

Numerous people are in and out of our house every week checking things out. Caseworkers, licensing workers, therapists, teachers, court advocates, and more.

Tonight our caseworker was at our house waiting for some people we've never met to come to our house so our boys could see their sister for a few hours. During our conversation she brought up this very subject and asked us if we felt strange that our entire lives were on display and that people were in and out of our home all the time. I answered with something like "it's just part of foster care" or something like that, and we went on to talk about other things.

And then I found out how not private my life truly is. As an answer to some question, we were telling our caseworker that we will likely have more kids one way or another in the future. She seemed so confused. So I told her we weren't sure if we would adopt more or maybe have biological kids, but we'd likely have more kids at some point. She was shocked. "Wait, you can have kids?!" Oh dear. "We all just assumed you couldn't have kids. We've all talked about it and just thought oh they can't have kids. No way! Shut up!" Wait, 'we all'?! Awkward.

So, my loins are apparently a subject of public discussion in our agency office (and now I just made it awkward for you, you're welcome). If that isn't the epitome of lack of privacy, I just don't really know what is.

Here's what I want you to take away from this:

First, it's exhausting to share so much of our lives with a ton of virtual strangers. For two introverted people, it's work to give constant reports of how things are going so it can be documented in our open-book life. So, if you're feeling like we don't share enough with you, it's not because we are trying to keep our life a secret (although, some details about the boys' history we legally cannot share), it's just that we spend so much time telling and re-telling the details to foster care personnel, that the thought of rehashing it again is just too much sometimes.

Second, we considered a lot of factors before we decided to foster/adopt, but fertility was not one of them. I understand that many people are led to foster care after dealing with infertility. I'm sorry for the struggles those families experience, and I'm happy they decide to become forever families to kids who need them. But that's not our story. We decided to build our family through foster care first. I can't tell you if we'll ever decide to have biological children, and it doesn't matter to us. These children are ours, just as any other children who come into our family will be, in whatever way they come to us.

So there you have it. Just continuing the pattern of keeping our life as public record.

No comments:

Post a Comment