Parenting, Relationships

The Portrayal of Foster Parents in This Is Us

This Is Us on NBC

Season 2 of This Is Us takes us on a journey of becoming foster parents.

My husband and I foster children. So, I just wanted to share my thoughts with you on this touching episode.

Watch This Is Us on NBC to continue the foster care journey
Watch This Is Us on NBC

Randall and his wife, Beth, have decided they are ready to become foster parents. They completed the home-study process.

Now, they await their first placement.

The foster parents wait for the first placement

This Is Us portrays such an exciting, frustrating, anxious time for foster families. Foster parents look forward to welcoming a child into their home and helping him or her. But the rest is often a mystery.This is Us and Foster Care

Think about getting ready for a big vacation you planned, only you are told it has been postponed by two weeks. Or, imagine getting the job of your dreams. Then you arrive at work prepared with aspirations of success. Only to be told the position is on hold, and they will contact you when you can start.

The first placement is an exciting time for foster parents. The wait might be two weeks or four months. Actually, there is no way of knowing how long one will wait, or who will be placed in your home.

The reality of the first placement

Honor, Honor 9, Huawei, FingerprintIn This Is Us, Beth answers the phone and immediately looks to Randall. She listens to the request for a placement, and she accepts. (In a future post, I will provide a list of questions helpful to have on hand for a placement call.)

Within a very short time, the social worker arrives with the child.  This has been the norm for our family.

Foster parents can get a phone call at any time of day or night, with very little notice. Once, we received a two-day notice. But, typically the child arrives a short time after the phone call.

My biggest piece of advice is this; don’t feel guilty if you have to say no. Your home is not the perfect place for every child. You want what is best for that child. Sometimes your family may be the best place. Other times, another home may be better.

And, you need to consider the children already in your home!

The foster parents’ reactions to a placement

When Deja comes to stay with the Pearsons in This Is Us, Randall and Beth have already thought through how they will respond to the child. They have studied blogs, spoke to their daughters and want to show her around the house.

This Is Us and Foster Care teaches us to focus on the needs of the child.
Your plans might be tossed aside quickly, depending on the child’s needs

Deja is in a state of overwhelm. She wants to go to bed.

No two people are exactly the same. And, no two children placed in a foster home will respond the same.

I have been amazed at how some children come in like they are ready to rule the roost. Some act like they already know you. Others may want you to leave them alone. Every now and then, you may see a sweet young child that doesn’t even know what is going on yet.

What am I trying to tell you?

Prepare for anything.     And, make it clear that anything is okay!

The social worker scene

I love the scene where Randall goes to the door with the social worker!

He seems surprised that she is leaving so soon. I recall feeling this way with several of our placements. I enjoyed the security of the social worker.

But, social workers are extremely busy people. Your time with the social worker will be rather brief, and you will be okay.

This Is Us - When the social worker leaves it is just the family left

The social worker in This Is Us, explains that Deja is not okay. She has been through a traumatic event. She needs time to try to adjust. And, she explains, difficult times are ahead.

I believe this is always the case with any non-infant child who comes to your home.

Love them and show them kindness with your actions. Allow them space. Give them time.

My Review of This Is Us on NBC

I think the writers did a fabulous piece focusing on the reality of foster care and of being foster parents. The only discrepancy I noted is the timeframe for the first placement.

And, that can totally depend on where you live and how great the need is in that jurisdiction.

Have you considered foster care?

When you are a foster parent, you are blessed beyond belief. You also are a tremendous blessing to those in your care.

But, foster parenting is not for everyone. Look for my post coming soon on how to know if foster parenting is right for you. I will also have suggestions for how you can help support foster parents.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this post, please share it with others.

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Tell me, what did you think of the episode? Do you think This Is Us portrayed foster care correctly?

10 thoughts on “The Portrayal of Foster Parents in This Is Us

  1. I really enjoyed the episode, and I love how hopeful Randall seemed throughout the entire process. I don’t know a lot about the foster care system, but I would love to learn more.

    1. Natalie- Randall is such a great character! He reminds me of me before every placement! I get so excited wondering what to expect and how things will go, what we can do to help the child. Please subscribe to follow and learn more. I am just finishing up the new addition to the site which will focus on foster parents – how to become one, the support you need, and how to support other foster and adoptive parents. I hope you will follow along and learn more! Thanks!!

  2. This is an awesome piece, I have been thinking about fostering, and adopting for many years. Thanks for writing this, so insightful.

    1. Sarah, I am glad you found it helpful. I am beginning to branch out to include a separate page/site on fostering kindness – including information about becoming or supporting foster parents. I would love to have you subscribe so you can get more information. I truly believe parents are blessed just as much as the kids!! Thanks!

    1. I am still waiting to see episode 4 so I hope the honesty continues! Of course, every child/placement is different so one never really knows what to expect. I’m glad you enjoyed it! Thanks, Chait!!

  3. Such a thoughtful post. You and your husband seem like very caring and inspirational people and I am sure you make a huge difference in these childrens lives. It is interesting to hear your perspective on the TV portrayal, although I haven’t watched This is Us (maybe this weekend?). Keep up all your amazing work!

    1. Oh- thank you, Kate! We are just people who love others and these kids have made a big difference in our lives. I hope to encourage others to look into supporting foster kids and foster parents too. I don’t know what genre of TV you like, but this show This is US has a little something for everyone. Thanks!

  4. i have to be honest, i was watching This Is Us, but dont anymore. The topic of foster and adopting is still, however, something my husband think about all the time.

    1. I have a hard time watching any tv lately. There just isn’t enough time. But, if you are possibly interested in fostering or adopting, please subscribe or check back. I just completed an interview with a social worker and have a lot of helpful information on making that decision. Thanks for commenting!

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