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To wish people wouldn't suggest fostering

(64 Posts)
swansolistice Tue 22-Dec-15 09:47:45

Hello. I probably am being unreasonable as I recognise people just want to be kind, but - even so, AIBU to wish people would stop brightly saying 'you can always foster!'

Context is, need fertility treatment to conceive. Initially went to an adoption information evening and decided it just wasn't what we wanted (amidst a few tears of course!)

Now preparing for fertility treatment in the new year. All self funded, which is why with close friends we've just been honest over Christmas and explained that we just can't afford much because all the money is going into this, and that we want it to work but it might need several tries and people keep saying 'you can always adopt!' We explain this isn't for us. And peoples immediate response is to try fostering?

I suppose I'm just getting a little fed up with having to tell people fostering isn't the same as being a parent in any way and it doesn't replace a family of our own no one could take away.

Am I being overly harsh in being sick of this?

SomethingAboutNothing Tue 22-Dec-15 09:51:25

I think the reason people do this is because they don't know how to respond with just sympathy so try to give a solution. It's well meant I'm sure but I can appreciate how annoying it can be for you.

SomethingAboutNothing Tue 22-Dec-15 09:52:28

And no, you aren't being unreasonably harsh at all, it's a difficult enough process for you to go through as it is.

CaffeineBomb Tue 22-Dec-15 09:54:59

YANBU I can't imagine how frustrating it is when you are going through something so difficult.

However, as you have already mentioned people just want to be kind. When you present somebody who loves you with a problem their automatic reaction is to try to fix it but YANBU to not want to keep explaining yourself.

I hope that the fertility treatment works well and quickly for you flowers

DarkRoots Tue 22-Dec-15 09:58:01

No, not at all. Been there! (And thankfully out the other side with a lovely DD - may you be as lucky)

I chose not to let it make me bitter and angry when people said this, and chose to believe that they just want to help 'solve' your problem to make you happy. Not realising, of course, that this is a really insensitive thing to say.

Adoption, fostering and conceiving a child are all poles apart. We get it smile

For a happy life during treatment, I decided to remember that most people say the wrong thing out of ignorance rather than malice. Made it easier to shake off!

Wishing you lots of luck - have a restful Christmas and hoping great things for you in 2016.

Phineyj Tue 22-Dec-15 09:59:09

The infertility network have a handout that is a guide for clueless friends and family. I also wished people would put the kettle on and say they sympathised, rather than suggesting solutions they know nothing about. My best friend's DH started going on about surrogacy. My DSis kept telling me to foster and in the end I said 'it's a job - that's why they pay you! I want to have a child, not a new career' (no disrespect to people who foster - they do something v important). Needless to say all those wittering on about adoption, fostering, surrogacy, alternative treatments etc etc usually have no knowledge of any of it. If you post on the infertility board here you will get support.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Tue 22-Dec-15 10:00:00

I can kind of see why people would suggest adopting but if you say that is not for you then why suggest fostering? I see fostering as a relatively poorly paid vocational job. Fantastic that people do it but not the same as having your own dc or adopting. YANBU.

KingJoffreyLikesJaffaCakes Tue 22-Dec-15 10:00:35

People just sometimes feel the need to say something.

Bit like when a pet dies and peeps ask immediately if you're getting another.


People can be douchey. Personally I just wouldn't tell them stuff.

TheWatchersCouncil Tue 22-Dec-15 10:01:59


I think responses like these are just lazy - there! I suggested a perfectly sensible and easily available solution! If you don't want to do that, well, not my problem!

People have no idea how hard it is to adopt, and how gruelling the process is. Fostering is a whole different ball game, with its own difficulties and challenges. And even if adoption or fostering were a walk in the park, you are allowed to not want to do them, and to want a biological child instead.

Phineyj Tue 22-Dec-15 10:02:09

I think DarkRoots's take on it is kind and generous, but for my part, I was feeling so awful myself I didn't see why I should spare other's feelings when they were being so thoughtless and had made me feel even worse - how will people learn?! I hope they knew more next time.

Phineyj Tue 22-Dec-15 10:04:51

This is the handout -

lorelei9 Tue 22-Dec-15 10:15:20

I'm afraid I am going to buck the trend a bit
I think some people say it as a genuine option. I know adoption is difficult etc but they may be saying it because they really see it as a good option.

Fostering is less clear to me, because with adoption I think you get to parent long term, but with fostering there's more likely to be children in your care for a shorter period.

is it possible they are suggesting fostering as a compliment - I think people who provide a home, often in emergency circumstances, are totally fab.

Threesocksnohairbrush Tue 22-Dec-15 10:15:36

Oh for goodness sake. I'm an adoptive parent, it's the best thing I ever did and I would support anybody who wanted to adopt, but it's a big decision and not for everybody.

My kids foster families were two sets of amazing, dedicated and highly resilient people doing the extremely difficult job of receiving kids at very short notice, giving them care, love and stability while they were part of their family, and then helping them to move onto the next stage of their lives - either back to birth parents or on to adoption.

Both of them had had their own biological children, who were a great support to them. I can't imagine how daft people are to think that a way of life involving bringing a child into your life 24/7, growing to care deeply about them, and then letting them go to strangers, is a wonderful solution for people struggling with infertility.

Very best of luck with the treatment. flowers

JamaisDodger Tue 22-Dec-15 10:16:36

YANBU. I told people I didn't want children, because they just stop asking me about it! Then we sent an email around saying "here's our new family". We adopted, but I never suggest it to friends (although four have since asked me for info on how to go about it, and two of those are now parents).

JamaisDodger Tue 22-Dec-15 10:19:12

Should also have said, I could never foster, it looks so difficult. But I'm glad my kids foster carers were able to do it.

Threesocksnohairbrush Tue 22-Dec-15 10:20:36

Lorelei apologies for a slightly unfortunate cross post - 'for goodness sake' was aimed at the OPs friends and relations, not at you.

I think adoption can be a fantastic option for anyone but there are ways and ways of suggesting it. 'Is adoption something you would ever consider?' might be a tactful opener and I have very occasionally and tentatively used that sort of line, mainly because I know I can offer some useful perspectives if the person does have it in mind.

'Why don't you just adopt?' is considerably less helpful and it sounds like the OP got the latter.

FlipperSkipper Tue 22-Dec-15 10:26:12

I've had adoption suggested, I've also had donor eggs and sperm suggested as a solution to my having had 2 miscarriages, which has upset me so much. People just don't get it. I wish I could take the sympathetic view that some of you do, that people want to help, but I've had so many stupid things said to me over the last four years that I just can't.

honkinghaddock Tue 22-Dec-15 10:31:01

There is no need for anyone to suggest adoption, fostering or anything else. It's not as if the person having fertility treatment won't have thought of it.

vimtoqueen1 Tue 22-Dec-15 10:32:44

Swan - I think friends just want to help and it just comes out wrong.

We had years of "trying" and started on infertility treatment but found that is wasn't for us.

After taking a couple of years off and having a couple of amazing holidays to Mexico and Cuba we decided to go ahead with adoption.

Adoption isn't an "easy" way and we have spent all of this year being approved and having our lives investigated and looked into in great depth.

We are very lucky that we now have a potential match with 2 AC's under 2 and will hopefully be going for approval early new year.

BUT it is not for everyone and if you are trying treatment in the new year you wouldn't be able to apply to adopt or foster for at least 6 months afterwards to give you time to grieve and then the process would be upto 12 months! Plus adoption is very stressful and I have no doubt that fostering would be as well.

Maybe just tell people that you are abit tight money wise at the moment and leave it at that. That might save any heartache later in the year if any of the tries are not successful.

Xmasbaby11 Tue 22-Dec-15 10:33:37

DH is a social worker for a fostering agency and I would never suggest someone fosters a child unless they expressed an interest in it. It is, as others have said, a job, and a very hard one at that. The children are almost always very damaged and behave badly, and frequently run away to find their birth parents. More often than not, they do not want to be fostered and may be moved between different ones when families cannot handle them. It is totally different from having your own children or adopting. One foster parent needs to be available, i.e. not work, which is why they get paid. Before I met DH, though, I wouldn't have know fostering was such hard work.

I don't think it's wrong to make suggestions, e.g. adoption or fostering, if it's a good friend doing so. You would then explain why you have rejected the idea. Then the friend will understand how things work better, and would be more empathetic in future. You can't expect everyone else to have the same level of knowledge about the topic as you do.

Tamponlady Tue 22-Dec-15 10:35:01

I agree as an adopter my self and soon to be for the seconed time I can see why it's annoying however I think people do see it as a option I personally would never recommend it unless someone asked but

I can we brought little one home when she was one and she is the light of our life can't wait for the new addition

VagueIdeas Tue 22-Dec-15 10:40:22

I find it mystifying that, after saying that adoption isn't for you (which is totally fine and very understandable) people suggest fostering... which is even harder, in the sense that you have to hand the children back and they are never "yours", plus all sorts of other difficulties that I can't even imagine.

Basically, people don't think. They don't understand the realities of either adoption or fostering.

Good luck with the treatment.

MrsDeVere Tue 22-Dec-15 10:56:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BipBippadotta Tue 22-Dec-15 11:17:18

Very best of luck with your treatment, OP. flowers

Even the kindest people simply cannot stop themselves from saying irritating, uninformed, sanctimonious things. They may think they want to help, but on some level it can feel like they just want you not to have this problem that makes them uncomfortable. Surely it doesn't need to be the problem you're making it, right? Surely you're overlooking some incredibly easy solution?

Whatever your friends' intentions, YANBU to be super sick of this.

I think there ought to be a general rule of thumb - if a friend is sad about something you struggle to understand (infertility, cancer, loss of a loved one, etc), do not make suggestions about what they ought to do. They will have thought about their situation in much more detail than you have. They know more about it than you. They know what their options are, and they know their feelings. They want a hug, not advice.

I'd suggest printing Threesocks first post on a card and handing one out to anyone who suggests this again.

JugglingFromHereToThere Tue 22-Dec-15 11:18:32

People find plain honest sympathy difficult to offer don't they?

It always seems to get mixed with a "fix it" plan, or some religious platitude, or people sometimes just avoid you entirely.
The "I'm sorry" you suggest along with putting the kettle on brew would be so much better. I wish more people would learn to do that - such an essential life skill

They can then go on to wish you good luck with your IVF treatments for the New Year, as indeed do I thanks

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