FAFQs: Frequently Asked Fostering Questions – Which ones are your’s?

Google “questions about foster parenting” and you’ll get lots of official pages from child welfare agencies, state governments and foster/adopt charities (and even a quiz about whether you’re ready to be a foster or adoptive parent), but I haven’t found any “FAQs” that answer the questions that people ask foster parents everyday.

So I’m starting my own!  (Yay!) And you’re going to help! (I hope)

FAFQs: Frequently Asked Fostering Questions

Last week we started with a tricky one. Now we’ll cover one that I most often hear it in Wal-Mart from complete strangers, or in the daycare parking lot from people I know just well enough to wave in passing.

The answer is simple, although sometimes it seems to take a few attempts to get it across.


QWhich ones are yours?**

AAll of them.


QNo, I mean which ones are your real kids?

AOh! Ok. All of them. I left all the imaginary kids at home today! 
<In other words, don’t ask this question. Ever. There’s not a polite or appropriate way to ask. All of my foster kids are really mine – at least for now. All of my adopted/biological/step kids are really mine.>

QNo, I mean which is which?

AOh! Why didn’t you say so in the first place? That’s actually none of your business, is it?*
<Because if you’re close enough to our family to be entitled to this information, you’d already know, wouldn’t you?>


QWhat? Well, I was just curious. You know, trying to make conversation.


AWhat, the weather and baseball were taken?

*When I have the time, I am generally very open to discussing our family and how SuperDad and I got here. I think it’s very important to educate people about the rewards of foster parenting But when I get “real” parent/child questions, not only do they irritate me beyond all civility, I also have to be very cognizant of what my kids overhear – hurting your feelings is a small price to pay to ensure that they never doubt how much we love them. 

**If it’s obvious that the family to which you are speaking was created in a non-traditional way (such as mine, with three toddlers aged 2 and under – two white, and one black/Hispanic, three white teenagers and two white parents [one of which is definitely not old enough to be the mother of an almost-20-year-old]), and you’re trying to respectfully have a conversation about foster-/adoptive-/step-parenting, you could try “You have a beautiful family!” This shows interest in a way that gives the parent an opportunity to discuss if they choose, but also allows a graceful “Thank you” to suffice if I don’t have the time or interest to fill you in. 

Also, for all you foster & adoptive parents, while I was working on this post, I came across a post at The Chaos and the Clutter. Sharla has a slightly more gracious approach than mine (especially when people are rude).

Now it’s your turn.

Foster Parents: Tell me in the comments the questions you get asked all.the.time. And your response, if you’ve got a standard. If not, I’m sure I can come up with something sarcastic. 🙂

Not-Foster-Parents: Tell me the questions you’d like to ask, but have the sense not to ask a stranger in Wal-Mart. I consider my readers friends, rather than random, rude strangers – so I promise to answer to the best of my ability with as little snark as possible. 😉

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