April 22, 2010

Back Patting.

I got a comment a few days ago, along with an e-mail, that has been on my mind a lot.  It hit a very personal nerve, but I figured that it could only be helpful to share openly here.

Both the comment and the e-mail referred to the blog as a place for foster parents to give themselves a little proverbial back pat.  A “good job, you’re doing a great thing.”


This is not at all my intention.  And if it comes off that way, I am really, very sorry.


I am just a normal person. (Actually ‘normal’ may be a little too flattering.)  I am not special.  I am, in fact, broken and sinful.  This ‘fostering’ thing that I do, it’s in an attempt to love.  I don’t profess to be great at it – in fact most of the time I feel like I’m flying by the seat of my pants (at times straight into a brick wall.).  In fact, Brian has said many times that he hopes that people look at us and think, “Well, if the Popps can do it, ANYONE can do it!” 

The truth is, is that if it weren’t for Jesus, His grace for me, His love,


I wouldn’t be a foster parent at all.


There have been several times in this journey that if it weren’t for Christ,


I would have quit.  Walked away.  Stopped caring.


It is in my nature to be selfish.  To want my life to be about me.  If it weren’t for God, that is what I would choose.  It doesn’t feel good to say that.  To be completely honest, I wish that fostering was something that I could brag about – but it’s not.


The purpose of this blog is not to make myself feel good.

My hopes for this blog are that it helps to make fostering less scary for people who are considering it.  I hope to show people a need that they don’t know is there.  I hope to encourage people to step out in love.  I hope to make fostering, and the lives of these kids real.  I hope to be an advocate for these kids.  I hope to be a place where current foster parents can find fellowship and encouragement.

But mostly, I hope to glorify my creator in all of this.  I hope to make Him shine.  I hope to show others His love.  If He uses me for this, I’ll count it a blessing.


So there is no back patting.  There is nothing to pat our backs about.  I am doing what He has asked of me – and sometimes I pout and stomp my feet along the way.  What I’m meaning to say is this is not about me.


It’s about Him.

It’s about kids who need love.

It’s about being God’s hands and feet on this earth.


There are no backs to pat here.


  1. Maggie, I never ONCE have considered this blog to be a place where you "pat your back," and especially not the post where the comment was made. I simply see this blog as a place to share your stories, encourage others, and communicate what a need there is for foster/adoptive families.

    Yes, some are meant to foster/adpopt and others are not, I agree. But I never thought you were urging all your blog readers to go out and become part of the answer to this need, but rather you were sharing information and the personal calling that you answered.

    Furthermore, I think that ALL foster/adoptive families DO deserve back pats. Big ones! You should be recognized for opening your hearts and homes to children in need of a love from a stable family, and dealing with all of the difficult situations that arise during the process.

    I, personally, commend you and think that you are a wonderful model of selflessness and Christ-like behavior.

    Keep on doing what you're doing!

  2. Great post! I love how you put the focus on Christ because truly that is where it must be at all times in our life. As you know, we are hoping to become foster parents soon and it seems there has been a never ending battle going on inside. I keep thinking i must be completely out of mind to do this, but your post brought me back to the truth of it all. We don't love the orphaned, hurting, abandoned because we feel obligated to or because we have to but we do so because of our love for Christ.

  3. I don't think your blog is at all portraying that! I think that it is wonderful, and it is needed! You are helping children who need someone to love them. Don't let that comment get you down!!

  4. I have to be honest. I'd like to give you a pat on the back. And occassionally I need one too. That's the point of community. Working together, supporting, challenging AND encouraging. I don't know a lot of other foster parents. The bio-parents I know have a very different job. No matter what your parenting experience is like, when something goes right, it's worth celebrating.

    We all struggle and we all make mistakes, but sometimes (far less often than any of us would like) we get it right. There is nothing wrong with celebrating that. If it weren't for the foster parent bloggers I know, I would feel like an island. I love to see you loving your kids well, and when I do, I want to tell you so. The same way I would when my SIL does something wonderful for her own kids.

    It helps me to see the things going wrong and especially the things going right in other foster homes. My fellow foster bloggers help me to be a better mama to these kids.

    One of the stumbling blocks of blogging is that it can't be public without being public. We can't form an open community without people who may disagree or misread jumping in. Sometimes that's a really good thing. Sometimes it makes us want to stand in defense, or if you're more like me, dig farther down in into your hermit hole.

    I don't think most of foster because it's an awesome way for people to see how generous and kind we are. Hell, if I wanted people to think that, I'd go back to work and donate money. Then I wouldn't have to be embarassed and humbled by my own failures on such a regular basis.

    There's a fine line between being boastful and being honest. It's one we must be careful of walking, but to err on the side of honesty is such a blessing those watching.

    The point I'm trying to make is that I've never felt that you were prideful or boastful. You're in the muck like the rest of us and I appreciate hitting the highs and lows with others, not alone.

    If y'all can do it, if we can do it, ANYONE can do it.

  5. Oh, and btw. We're strictly a foster family. For now. I was desperately searching for purpose in life when I discovered foster care. I firmly believe this is what God has called me to for the here and now. I think there may be others in the world who are where I was. Again, I didn't know other people who fostered so if it weren't for those out there, publicly sharing their failures and triumphs, I wouldn't be here today.

    That's why I started my blog, too.

    I'm just sayin'

  6. Nicely said...I don't know why people have to leave comments like that. If you think that, just DON'T READ IT! UGH. Oh, and I am like all of the above. You deserve a pat on the back, even if you're not asking for it!

  7. Maggie,

    Your blog is one of my favorites. And it's because you are so positive about fostering yes it's hard but you always give the credit to our Lord. Please continue sharing the Popp's Life with us. My husband and I are adopting. Today was one of those days I wanted to quit. God's word reminded me; when we are weak He is able. It's the only way I can keep from crediting myself; it's all Him. We have to press on. There is fruit to be gained from this hard road He has called us to walk. Thank you for this post(especially after the morning I had). I will be praying for your family.

  8. Great Post... I have enjoyed reading your blog and vicariously living through others while we are on hold from fostering... I personally am interested and intrigued by anything and everything in the foster and adoption world. I read to be educated and to know that there are those out there that have been there and are very possibly going through what I may be going through.. thank you for your honesty!

  9. We have fostered and adopted three children. I feel very uncomfortable when people tell me how great we are for doing what we do. How we will be blessed for doing it. We don't do it for blessings, we do it because we are blessed and are fortunate to be able to do it. We are also not great but normal people stumbling through life. I really don't know how to answer those comments.

    Educating people about the process is a great thing, it can make some realize that it is something that they can or cannot do.

  10. The LORD knows the intent of your heart and you give Him the glory, so rest at ease. Foster Care is something that most people don't know a thing about, and you do a great job educating people about it.

    I don't understand why nasty comments have to be part of the blog world, but you hear about it quite a bit.

    You are a great encouragement for me! Thank you for writing!

  11. Many people will do many things to ignore the call on their heart. Often times, they resort to discrediting (in any way they can) the people who are fulfilling a similar call.

    Please try to let this roll off your back. Keep sharing your story...the good parts and the not so good parts. The Father is being glorified...in your words and, more importantly, in your actions.

    God Bless!

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  13. sweet maggie,
    i LOVE reading your blog... for lots of reasons, but mostly because of the beautiful picture of continual grace, dying to self, and seeking to point to the cross that i see displayed in you and brian's life. Jesus, thank you for giving these sweet friends hearts to serve you in this tangible way, and i pray that you would refresh and encourage their hearts with your Spirit and Word!

  14. All great comments!

    I agree, your blog doesn't feel like a big pat on the back, but if it did there's nothing wrong with it. Why is it so horrible to say that we all need support and understanding?

    This is just another of example of foster parents being held to a much higher standard that just isn't reality. Foster parents are real people, who need to be encouraged to keep going.

    That said, I echo the comment above about how uncomfortable it is to have people tell me how great we are to do this. It's wrong in the ways you illustrated Maggie - I couldn't do it without God, the praise goes to him.

  15. I agree with all of the above. I have learned so much about fostering that I have never know. I have only heard the scarey horrible side of fostering before and assumed that was the norm. You have taught me other wise. There are so many wonderful foster families out there. Thank you so much for sharing, I do not feel called to foster right now but maybe someday I will. It is not out of the question. I look forward to every post you share with us and never once have I felt as if you were looking for praise, you only give it...to God. Thank you again.

  16. I agree with all of the above. I have learned so much about fostering that I have never know. I have only heard the scarey horrible side of fostering before and assumed that was the norm. You have taught me other wise. There are so many wonderful foster families out there. Thank you so much for sharing, I do not feel called to foster right now but maybe someday I will. It is not out of the question. I look forward to every post you share with us and never once have I felt as if you were looking for praise, you only give it...to God. Thank you again.

  17. Suz here, I left a comment on the original post. Hope that is the end of it.

  18. I agree, we need encouragement but at the same time we feel so superficial. Like we are seen as something that we aren't. Maybe if we got comments like "what a great life calling" we would feel different about praise. I don't know, I feel like we (foster parents) come across unappreciative of praise, but maybe it's because we don't like being singled out. It's strange and I totally understand how you feel.


Thanks for commenting!!


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