Friday, March 26, 2010


I have been reading many a blog where the parents are having problems with their foster kids lying. I want to state right here and now that MY KIDS DON'T LIE! Nope, not ever, never, cross their hearts and hope to die, stick a needle in their eye.

Now before y'all start thinking I must be the most naive foster parent on the face of the earth. let me clarify. My kids don't lie; in whatever language they speak, in whatever reality they exist in and on whatever planet they came from, they are telling the truth. Just because I wasn't born on planet WTF?? and don't speak the language, bullcrap, does not mean I should assume they are lying. And don't get me started on the language barrier! I mean the words sound very much like English and I leave conversations thinking I have a grasp on what they mean, only to find out later that I was surely mistaken.

So what do I do as we are trying to learn each other's language, trying to find areas of commonality so that we can live somewhat peacefully on the same planet? Well, like Mother Issues, I use the 'trust AND verify' model. I pass no judgements on statements until such time as I can verify said statements. And verification does not occur until either 1) I can validate the statements using my 5 senses (touch, see, taste, hear or smell) or 2) they can be validated by an unbiased, external source. I spend a lot of time responding to blatant falsehoods statements with non sequiturs like "Oh really", "Isn't that interesting", "You don't say" and one of my favorites "I never quite looked at it that way".

And what do I do when I verify that that their alternate reality is clashing with mine? I chalk it up to the language barrier and try to reach some kind of common ground. Instead of arguing over 'who' spilled the kool-aid ('who' is apparently one of those words that don't translate well, along with 'where', 'what, 'when', 'how' and 'why'), I say "Hmmmm, let's get this kool-aid cleaned up before it stains". Now I know translation is a tricky skill so I have to work extra specially hard to make sure I say things like "I'm sure there was a misunderstanding 'cause when I talked to so and so parent, they knew nothing about driving you guys to the movie so how was it you are getting there?" Yeah, yeah, yeah I know, this often leads to additional statements spoken in a foreign language. But, then because I am having trouble understanding I would offer to drive child and said friend to movies and even offer to watch the movie with them. All in the hopes of increasing understanding, of course. Sometimes my helpful offers are rejected, which is sad cause then the child doesn't get to see that movie. Sometimes my brain hurts from trying to translate so I resort to simple words like 'No', which ends the conversation for me, but rarely for them. Fortunately, I am a sports official and like all sports officials I am legally, deaf, dumb and blind (job requirement!) so I am not bothered by the screeching and excessive dramatics that usually follows the word 'No'.

Hopefully, over time my kids and I will have fewer and fewer translation errors as we develop common points of reference, but until AND verify.

Which reminds me, I need to call another parent to verify he is indeed driving the kids to a concert tonight...

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