Intersectional resources for foster/adoptive families
June 23, 2017 9:01 AM   Subscribe

Looking for online resources about foster care parenting and adoption. More inside.

I'm a better person and a better parent because I've found online resources that speak to me, but I've had to wade through a lot of crap to find ones that are secular, intersectional, non-judgmental, funny, powerful, empowering, and speak truth about all the hard and shitty bits.

We're at the very beginning of entering the foster parent process. I'd like to find some online resources and communities to read up, get support, and help me work through common problems and issues with foster parenting and the effect of it on the provider family, especially bio children (my bio son will be 3 soon).

In particular, I'm looking for resources that speak candidly about the complex intersectional issues at play when a privileged white family fosters children of different races, ethnicities, religions, socioeconomic backgrounds, neurodivergence, abilities, etc. etc. I want to understand these issues and I want to shut down that "white savior" attitude whether in our family or in the comments from well-meaning relatives/friends. And I want to teach my bio son and his future foster siblings well, with non-judgmental and age-appropriate discussions of complex subjects.

Open to all kinds of resources, online or offline (with the exception of podcasts because I never get around to listening to them).
posted by aabbbiee to Society & Culture (4 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
There is a book I actually found through Metafilter, Blue Ribbon Babies and Labors of Love by Christine Ward Gailey, an anthropologist. She doesn't give childrearing advice but she does interview families who have adopted from the foster system or public agencies, and many are white families who have adopted children of color, who often go from being in working class/poor bio or foster families to middle-class status through adoption. The families discuss how to help their children adjust and how to keep their children connected to their heritage, etc.

(There is also discussion of some families who don't do this, or who only make half-hearted efforts; that can probably go under "don't do this" advice.)
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 9:34 AM on June 23, 2017 are/is two white women who have fostered and adopted two precious black boys. You can also find them on Instagram and Facebook. They talk about the difficulties of fostering and a lot about transracial issues and white privilege.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 10:57 AM on June 23, 2017

We have been foster parents for the last few years, and currently have our 14th and 15th kids placed with us. We are upper middle class and live in a Mayberry-esque town that is clean, and safe, and quiet, and full of grass and parks and overtly friendly people. It has been a bit of culture shock for the girls. They have been with us for five months and are a different race, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic background, and (if I understand this word right) at least one is neurodivergent. They have experienced way more trauma in their short lives than I have in mine, and it comes out in unexpected ways that touch on all of those things. Your "white savior" comment - especially from friends and neighbors - and your sensitivity to that resonates.

I have no great resource for you on those points - in fact, I favorited this so that I can read whatever anyone else might identify - but for local support I have really enjoyed a facebook group of other foster families in our area. I understand that facebook is far from perfect, but it's a closed group and the families are careful about how they identify (or don't identify) their kids. People share resources (clothes, referrals to doctors, answers about DCFS policies, strategies for advocacy at school, etc.), they commiserate about some of the unique stresses of fostering, and they share in some of the unique joys. I don't even really post there, but it's good to know others around me are going through what we are.

One final point (and maybe this won't be applicable to you because your question really seems like you've thought a lot about it): it's really outstanding that you are already sensitive to this stuff and want to study it. But when that first placement comes, don't be surprised or feel bad if all of your best intentions go right out the window and you are flying by the seat of your pants to get from breakfast to bedtime each day. There are so many nights where we leave the arugula in the fridge and order Domino's, or we surrender to Pokémon instead of our plan to do some reading or math catch-up work. Love them 100% and keep them safe. All the rest will be gravy. Good luck!
posted by AgentRocket at 12:00 PM on June 23, 2017

Bastardnation at are great as a frank starting point for engaged adult adoptee voices. It's pretty easy to find adoptive parent memoirs and other adoptive or foster parent support groups but you don't need their viewpoints right now. You need to listen to the children who will get what your kids will live in a way you can't, no matter how much you love them. Find adoptee memoirs and blogs and YouTube channels. The US foster system has some foster magazines run by recent foster grads too. Almost all of those voices are intersectional. They'll be painfull to read but way more useful down the line.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 3:42 AM on June 24, 2017

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