Ah, blogging! It can be fun. It can be frustrating. It can be cathartic. It can be infuriating, especially when blogging about foster or adoptive kids. We foster/adoption bloggers want to share the joys and challenges of our journey; however, we are constrained by the fact that we need to keep our child’s life private. An adoption blog can be a double-edged sword.
Why should we keep our foster kids’ life private? First, out of respect for the biological family. Those in the community may not know that the biological family have a child in state custody. The stigma and shame of having a child removed from your custody is a real one. Bio families deserve that confidentiality.
Second, you need to keep your foster child’s life private for your own well-being and that of your child. Though, in my 12+ years’ experience in foster parenting, child abductions of foster children from foster parents is extraordinarily rare, there is always cause for caution. Always err on the side of caution.
Third, state law may prohibit revealing a child as a ward of the state, especially on the internet. If a child is not free for adoption, a foster parent cannot identify a foster child as a foster child. According to Federal standards like Reasonable and Prudent Parenting Standard (RPPS), foster parents may post photos of foster children, but cannot identify them as such.
The goal of RPPS is to provide youth in out of home care with a “normal” life experience.” But this must be balanced with the need for privacy and confidentiality. What follow are some ways to balance the two.
Of course, the full names of your foster children should never be used on any blog, internet web page, or social media. Using alternate/pseudo names is appropriate. The easiest way to protect your foster child’s privacy is by using their initials (DW). Or by simply using their first name initial (D). However, bio family may recognize the initials and that may not be quite anonymous enough.
Using abbreviations in an adoption blog helps us to identify which foster or adoptive child we are referring to. For example, Foster Son, age 4, may be abbreviated as “FS, 4”; Adopted Daughter, age 10, may be referred to as, “AD, 10”. This way you can preserve anonymity in a large family.
3) Backwards photos
One creative way of taking a family photo while protecting the privacy of your foster child is to take a photo with everyone’s back turned to the camera. You can take the photo with just the foster child’s back turned but that would single him out as different. This way the entire family has their back turned, not just one person.
4) Children wearing masks
Another easy and cost-effective way of having fun with photos on an adoption blog is using masks! Halloween notwithstanding, masks are a good way to protect your child’s identity and to have fun at the same time!
Lastly, stickers from Pic Collage or Pinterest are a creative way to give your little one some privacy. You simply download the sicker you want then drag and drop over the face of your foster child. It’s fun, it’s free, and it protects the confidentiality of your kiddo!
Your child deserves to have fun and feel normal. Each situation is different and each child is unique. Use the method that best suits your needs and the needs of your foster child. An adoption blog can be fun for everyone, if done with care.