Fete Lifestyle Magazine September 2017 Family Issue - Page 40

Though foster families are perceived as society’s saints, most of them repudiate the stereotype. Steve and Sandy Rieske, who have fostered for over a decade and even adopted one of their foster children, share, “We aren't exceptional people ... just people who said "yes." Adam and Val Bowlan, who have adopted three of their foster children, agree, “Nothing about us makes us special, we just jumped in!” Whilst Dave and Kati Thompson, who have fostered for years, expressed, “We get frustrated. We don’t always handle issues perfectly. We don’t always know what to do.” The families concurred that fostering isn’t a solitary role for ‘superheroes,’ but conversely a communal project; the proverbial Village Raising Child idea, where support systems are pivotal. Blogger Sharon Astyk contends that there is a danger in deifying foster parents. When we apotheosize the role that foster parents play, it actually divests the rest of us from any shared responsibility. We ascribe fostering to the ‘saviors,’ when we’re all responsible to make our society a safer space. We can each play our respective part, be it large, moderate or small. This does not require us to be foster parents necessarily, but we can support in other ways, such as teaching inclusivity to our children, or assisting foster families with their various needs.