If you’ve ever worked with foster children, then you know they have a built-in mechanism for survival. It’s called “lying.”
I hate to be so blunt, so maybe we can reword this so it doesn’t sound so cut-and-dried. Let’s see.
They like to stretch the truth. They tell little white lies. They don’t exactly tell it like it is. They exaggerate. They tell stories. They . . .
If you’re considering becoming a foster parent, please be aware of the facts concerning foster children and their desire to level with you. The desire is not there.
I wholeheartedly believe that many foster children’s ability to hide the truth in practically every facet of their lives stems from their unfortunate pasts either with their own families or in other foster homes.
Foster children have the inborn tendency to either get into trouble or to be blamed for getting into trouble when it really isn’t their fault at all. Thus, over the years, they’ve learned that lying has become a matter of self-preservation. If they could talk their way out of being grounded or losing privileges, then why not?
From a Christian foster parent’s viewpoint, I can say that trying to change this one behavior in our foster kids’ lives was the toughest thing I ever faced. I never knew when one of the children was telling the truth or not. I often felt like an FBI agent or Mrs. Sherlock Holmes, digging into the facts, searching for clues to “who done it,” or giving every child the third degree: “And where were YOU at three A.M. this morning when the barn burned down?”
But by God’s grace some of the teens accepted Christ into their lives, and things started to change. They saw how “telling whoppers” only added to their misery and caught them in an endless cycle of mistrust with all those around them, including those who really did care. It was only after the children became Christians that their behavior started to change, they “came clean,” and we could love them for who they were, kids in need of a tremendous dose of tough love.
So my challenge to you, foster parent, is be gracious, be willing to believe, but be very, very careful.