Monday, March 10, 2014

No Blurred Photos for Me Please

There a few things in the world of foster care that rub me the wrong way.

There is the obvious - unnecessary moves, unqualified foster parents who don't real like kids, disrespect for birth families who are fighting to get their kids back.  

And the not so obvious - blogs that over-share about kids personal stories and the ol' I-can't-actually-post-a-photo-of-my-foster-child so instead, I will still post the photo but blur out their face or put a sticker right smack in the middle of their face to "hide" their identity, thing.

--> like so

I've blurred a face once or twice in my time.  I get the temptation.  The children we have been entrusted with are precious and adorable & we want to share them with the world!

But seeing a sweet child with their identity masked, as if they had done something to be ashamed of, actually hurts me.  As if we're ashamed, as if we should be ashamed.  The rest of the family can smile away and have their photo proudly displayed.  We can see their smiles, their tears, their sas-a-frash-i-will-NOT-smile for another photo attitude.  

Yet, the foster child's face, their expression, who they are is hidden. They are there and yet they are not. 

That type of photo gives us the ability to show off the child we love, but not who they are.  Not really.  And all of us who have known a child whose been through the system, knows what amazing, full, and complete people they are.  With a whole story before, during and after their time in foster care.   

I want my child to know that I have always been proud of in all her intricacies, sass and realness.  I want people to see her face for real, her whole face (in photos or in person) the first time they see her.  She is a whole.  Not a body, but no identity.  So I didn't post ANY pictures publicly until I could announce that she was officially adopted.  And I still do only very, very rarely on public sites.  Because she isn't the poster child for adoption, foster care.  She is her own person, every hilarious, wonderful, personable inch of her.

We can debate all day long if photos in general should or shouldn't be allowed on blogs/social media/etc.  I realize regulations are different in every area.  And I understand the reasons behind the regulations - these are children that we have been entrusted with but are not OURS, its for the safety of the children and for our families.  And to maintain the privacy of the entire birth family.

But I would ask, beg even, you to not share pictures at all until you can share all of them or pass them all on.  The blur or the cute heart sticker, takes away from the person-hood of the very child you are trying to make more real.  

Wait - I promise it will be wonderful on the day when you can share (if they are adopted) or on the day when you can no longer share (but can give all of your wonderful, un-blurred photos to their birth family or to their adoptive family).  

Either way, you are giving that child and their forever family a gift, the precious gift of honoring the intricacies and beauty of each individual, precious, unique little life (and face).