Here is a thing you may not know about me if we interact primarily online: I’m a foster parent.
Well, I was, until around 10:30 this morning, which is when a judge decreed that my spouse and I are now the legal parents of our former foster son, who shall be known to the internet as Boy Wonder.
For legal and privacy reasons, I’ve been pretty quiet about this extremely important thing happening in my life, and that’s not likely to change. Now that the adoption is final, I’m no longer bound by the strict privacy laws forbidding foster parents from splashing their foster kids all over social media, but those laws exist for really good reasons. There’s an awful lot of saccharine clickbait out there painting foster parents as heroic saviors of damaged children and that’s not a narrative to which I care to contribute.
My son is in high school, and can decide for himself how much of his business he wants to share with the world. As someone with a moderate internet presence, I try to be particularly conscientious about not making that choice for him.
But I have his permission to share this post explaining that I am now the parent of a high schooler, so that I can talk about parenting, foster care, and adoption without having to use vague statements like “I work with teens.” (I do work with teens who are not my son, but sometimes I’m trying to say something that is specifically about foster care or parenting).
And while my son’s business is his business, I’m happy to talk more generally about the experience of adopting from foster care, and answer questions for folks who might be considering older child adoption. In fact, I have a few quick answers for you up front:
The latest round of assaults on reproductive rights has surfaced a couple bad takes about adoption.
The first, from those who think pregnant people should be forced to carry pregnancies to term, is that there are childless people waiting to adopt infants, so pregnant people should be forced to provide those infants. I’m not going to get into the various reasons that’s a bad take, because, goddamn. Pregnant people are not things. They don’t exist to serve strangers who want kids.
A common reaction to that ludicrous argument, however, is that there are thousands of children in foster care and that waiting parents should “just adopt them.”
While often well-meaning, this position misunderstands both the logistics and ethics of adopting from foster care, and it’s dismissive of folks who struggle with infertility.
I have a post up on The Bias today about the word “mansplaining,” and why having specific language to describe patterns of discrimination is so vital to marginalized groups. Check it out: Mansplaining and the Power of Naming.
I’ve got a post up on The Bias today about growing up queer, and the harm it causes queer children when we act as if LGBT topics are for “mature” readers in spite of the fact that many kids are themselves queer. Check it out: My Childhood Was Appropriate For Children.
I’ve got a post up on The Bias today about disability, how it’s represented in genre fiction, and how that representation differs from the lived realities of non-fictional disabled people, and political frameworks that guide our discourse about disability. Check it out: The Geek’s Guide to Disability.
I’m excited to be attending Sasquan in Spokane, WA this August. I’ve been to my share of mid-sized regional conferences, and had a blast at DetCon One–last year’s North American Science Fiction Convention–but this will be my first Worldcon.
Will I see you there? If so, here’s where you’ll be able to find me: