The fishbowl.

The fishbowl.

Parenthood of all sorts draws attention. Advice. Criticism.

Fostering is no different. Except there’s a lot more mandated reporters.

When the state has custody of a child, a whole team of professionals surrounds that child. For example, each week our boys see their case worker, biological parents, two separate individual therapists, a behavioral therapist, a family therapist and two tutors. And each month, they see their guardian ad litem, Deputy Juvenile Officer, Court Appointed Special Advocate and psychiatrist.

That’s a lot of caring, involved people. And a lot of social work degrees.

On the other hand, I majored in advertising design and my husband in journalism. Which makes parenting in front of a dozen experts more than intimidating.

And more than a little confusing as the experts often disagree. One focuses on structure and another on encouraging empathy. One tells us to name consequences and another suggests the opposite.

While nearly every idea carries great wisdom and good intentions, they often miss the greater story of all that’s happening under the surface.

For our boys. And for us.

Some days, I don’t need another to do. Or not to do. I need a hug. A “you are doing the best you can and that isn’t terrible.”

And I can only imagine our boys feel the same.


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  1. Evelyn Christensen

    I’m sending you a huge, virtual hug, Liz. Thank you for being such an inspiration to me. I can only imagine how stressful it is to have so many experts stirring the pot, no matter how well-intentioned they are. I continue to keep you in my prayers.

  2. Momofallsorts

    As a mom who has both given birth to her children and born them out of foster care AND also makes a “living” as a helping professional of the sort you mentioned in your post, I want to affirm that you’re doing an incredible job right where you’re at. There will always be more opinions, suggestions, and wisdom coming your way and fostering does exponentially increase the amount of voices speaking into your life. The best wisdom I gained as a parent was from a professional mentor who specialized in child development. She told me that there is no parenting book that can substitute for your own gut instinct. I would say the same for the voices speaking into your life and your kids’ lives. So I say, lean into your gut and your husband’s, and listen to the wisdom that comes to you in daily living with and loving these boys well. And know that you will know what to do for them or what not to do right when you need to.

    • Liz

      Thanks so much for the kind encouragement and nuggets of wisdom. And for caring for kids and families in so many capacities!

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