This term both Small Sun and Sprout are studying "Families" in their classrooms. Like an idiot I immediately put my hand up to come in to talk about adoptive and foster families. I've done it for years, and even though it makes me nervous every time, I think it is important, so I press through my nerves.
This year is different.
This year I am talking about adoption AND foster care.
Previously I've always framed my discussion around a baby's needs, (physical and emotional) and talked about how sometimes a mother can meet some of the needs (taking care of the baby in the womb, giving birth, giving love), but is unable to meet the other ongoing needs (shelter, medicine, etc).
Personally, I dislike talking about it because I see all the holes and "what ifs" and grey areas and I want to explain it all completely, but you can't. Not to a class of six and seven year olds.
I am not confident about how to introduce the idea of foster care into the mix. Many of these kids know our family, they play with B in the playground. Some of them might know he is our foster son, I don't know.
How do I simultaneously introduce adoption as a loving and permanent choice on behalf of a child, alongside foster care which involves forced removals, abuse, neglect, and temporary placements and unknown futures?
When I talk about adoption I say that the first family has a "big problem" they are trying to work through, and they are so busy working on that problem they can't take care of a baby, so another family adopts the baby to love and care for forever. Maybe the first family doesn't have a house, or maybe they don't even have enough money for food, but it is a grown up problem and the baby is perfect no matter what.
I could say that in foster care a family is having a crisis, and another family takes care of the child(ren) while the family is working on their crisis.
I think the thing I worry about there, is suddenly Small Sun wondering why some family crisis can be resolved, and others can't. Or why his family's crisis led to them making an adoption plan for him, while B's family is fighting for him even though they have "big problems".
It's so tricky. Any ideas? Any suggestions? I've read so many articles and tutorials, but I still feel stressed every time!
PS-I also find the discussion hard here in Australia, where there is such a big safety net for issues of poverty, access to healthcare, etc. The reasons children get placed for adoption in the U.S. and around the world, hardly sound legit here, even to kids.