Fostering is about the child. It is not about giving someone an opportunity to be a foster mother.
A foster child does not come in to fill a need. The child comes with many needs to be filled.
We are talking about vulnerable children with a traumatic past. Children who did not find love and care in his/her own natural family. We’re talking about the child who might have suffered abuse in his/her natural family. This child comes in to a foster family, emotionally and psychologically vulnerable.
This is why a criterion for fostering a child requires that no physical punishment be used on the child at all times.
The foster child comes to live with you, not stay for a few weeks. The foster family must set aside time for the child. This includes making arrangements to facilitate the child’s access to his/her natural parents, bringing the child for medical appointments or just to spend quality time with the child.
Hence, MSF is right to be strict in screening applicants to be foster parents. These vulnerable children came from homes that failed them. They should not be further traumatised by being pushed from one foster home to another because the first foster home did not work out right.
How pervasive is that attitude of self-entitlement in our society? Just because we did not get what we want, therefore we have to lash out on social media?
The latest viral post on social media is that by a Kethlyn Gayatiri whose mother had been rejected in her application to be a foster mother.
Kethlyn wrote: She even roped in my dad to help the boys train at the gym. She also wrote about the many years her mother spent as’ a wonderful mother to three children’. No doubt her mother is a wonderful mother. Her love for children is not in doubt. But it should be pointed out that her mother raised 3 children with her dad around to help.
Given that her mother is so emotionally upset by the rejection, fostering a vulnerable child with emotional needs may not be the best for her or the child. There are other ways to foster a child without putting so much at risk – particularly the welfare of the vulnerable child who should be everyone’s top concern, and not whether one is successful or not in your application.
Her mother could, for example, help take care of the kid for a working mother in the daytime. That’s a full-time job too, one that comes with greater flexibility.
Food for thought
In ‘Please know that the world does not revolve around you, or your mom’ Prof Ben Leong wrote:
It really bothers me that we now seem to have a whole generation of self-entitled brats who take to social media to complain just because things do not go their way. Doesn’t matter if they are right. Many in the population also cannot seem to be able to think and happily go along with them.
Allow me to highlight again that MSF’s responsibility is to take care of the welfare of the vulnerable children to be fostered out, not to take care of the feelings of Ms Gayatiri’s mother. In other words, it is not anyone’s god-given right to become a foster parent in this country, in case people are wondering.
The decision to foster a vulnerable child is not to be taken lightly. Likewise, the choice of a foster family on behalf of the child is not to be taken lightly. Remember, it is about the child.