We’ve all experienced those awkward situations where we don’t know what to say and we are at a loss for words. When we find ourselves in those situations, there are a couple ways we respond. Too often we say nothing, or we find ourselves saying something that comes across as insensitive because we just don’t understand.
When I am out in public with my family, I find that the people we run into often feel this way. They see us, a large family with parents and kids who don’t all “match” from the outside, and they don’t understand. Too often, rather than saying something kind or saying nothing at all, they say something insensitive.
Everyone appreciates kindness
However, sometimes we receive a response that is supportive and encouraging. Once in a while someone will “ooh” and “ahh” over the precious children with me and say, “What a beautiful family you have.” Every time we receive a response like that it brings an enormous smile to my face and warmth to my heart.
So if you find yourself at the grocery store, your child’s school, or the post office, and you see a family that you don’t quite understand, it may just be a foster family. To the foster mom who is doing her best to manage five children at the grocery store, offering to help unload her groceries would be an amazing help. To the foster dad you see picking his children up at school, please feel free to say, “What a beautiful family you have,” as this is always an appropriate and encouraging response. And to the foster family you see bringing packages to the post office, the mom’s arms full of babies and boxes, please hold the door open or help carry the boxes for her.
Every family is different, just as every person is different. We may not always understand the people we come in contact with, but everyone responds to and appreciates kindness. I encourage you to look for ways that you can extend kindness to those you come across today. You never know the difference you could make.
– Charonne Ganiere, licensed foster parent
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Community Services recruits, trains and provides support services for foster families. The need for foster parents in Wisconsin is great. Contact us to receive information about becoming a foster or adoptive parent, or visit our website to learn more.