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A Letter To the Bio Parents Who Use Their Children As Pawns

Dear Parent Who Cares More About Yourself Than Your Children,

You give a bad name to the biological parents who have children in foster care who are working REALLY HARD to make their lives better. You are the cause of horror stories that make people not want to do foster care. You’re exhausting even when you live nowhere near us.

You thought more about yourself than your children before they were taken into custody, and that habit hasn’t changed. You don’t even think it needs to.

You’re not fooling anyone into thinking you’re being selfless. We might be smiling, but we see through you. We’re kind and respectful because we see you as a human being who deserves to be spoken to in a human way.

But it’s unfortunate that you’ve never given your child the same benefit.

And those meetings we have every month? They’re not about you.

They’re not set up for you to talk about how bad the kids’ other parent is. They’re not designed for your to talk about yourself the entire time. We don’t rearrange our entire schedules and work late all week so that we can get off early on Fridays to attend meetings where you throw out accusations for an hour.

Believe it or not, that’s actually not helpful to the case whatsoever. It doesn’t improve your children’s lives, and it doesn’t prove that you’re improving your life. It just wastes valuable time that could be helping everyone.

In reality, those meetings are set up for you to learn more about how your children are doing. They’re there for us to learn more about how you’re bettering your life so your child can return to you. They exist so you can know that your child is playing sports for the first time in their life, or that your child is finally passing science class, or that your child is working through depression in therapy, or that your child has a boyfriend/girlfriend, or that your child is exploring a new religion, or that your child has a new favorite color this month, or that your child is completely melting and wiping their poop all over the walls at night.

They’re designed to INCLUDE you.

You can’t be included in things if all you ever talk about is yourself or if you don’t show up to meetings at all.

You can’t know those things if you never call or never make it to visits. You can’t know anything about your child if you don’t ask questions about them. You can’t know who they are if all you ever do is tell them who they are.

We’re not wire-tapping your phone calls.
We’re not out to get you.
We don’t talk bad about you in front of your children.
We don’t want you to fail.
We don’t think we’re better than you.
We don’t tell your children we’re going to adopt them.
We aren’t trying to steal your child’s culture.

We spend too much of our time trying to help your child heal from trauma you caused for us to have any time left over to sabotage you.

Unlike you, we’re not using your child as a pawn to get what we want. We won’t use them to make ourselves feel better, to make someone else look bad, to make money, or to get sympathy and handouts.

How dare you use your child (a living, breathing, human being who NEEDED you) to get something for yourself? How dare you use them to get donations, sympathy, or a check from the government?

You don’t belong in the same category as the parents who are trying really hard. There are parents who battle addictions and work every single day to overcome those addictions. They won’t always win the battle, but they’re trying. They know they’re not healthy for their kids right now, but they want to be.

They want to be what’s healthy for their kids; they just don’t know how, yet. You don’t even care about getting healthy for your kids because that would take too much personal sacrifice. The only thing you really care about is having possession over them.

Excuse me for thinking that children cannot be owned and should actually have a say in what happens to them.

It’s interesting that you don’t care whether or not they have food in their bellies, but you care about whether or not we cut their hair. It’s fascinating that you don’t have time to call them, but you feel like you have the right to yell at them for not calling you. It’s soooooo intriguing to me that you cancel all of your appointments to see them, but you make public threats to anyone who might try to adopt them in the future.

When you DO talk to your children on the phone (because they finally felt guilty enough to call), it’s wrong for you to say that their foster parent is nothing to you and that you don’t even want to hear their name. It’s wrong, and it’s harmful to YOU. It doesn’t make me look bad. It makes YOU look bad.

You are so far from healthiness that I weep for the way you’ve impacted your child. I pray for you to get healthy and for your relationship with your child to repair itself, but I cry next to your child on a weekly basis because of the way you’ve hurt them.

There are parents who care very much about their children, but you are not one of them.

I feel sorry for you that you don’t want to know about their life or what they’re up to. I’m sad that you don’t care enough to want to live life alongside them, but that you care enough to want to make decisions for them. You want to control them, but you’re missing out on everything that matters.

You think you’re using your child as a pawn, but all you’re doing is stealing your own joy. You’re taking something away from yourself that you can never get back. Your child does not have to allow YOUR identity for them to come into their heart. They are their own person, and you don’t get to dictate who that is.

I’m sad that you would even try.


The Foster Parent Who Loves Your Child

A Letter To the Bio Parents Who Use Their Children As Pawns

W. R. Cummings

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APA Reference
Cummings, W. (2019). A Letter To the Bio Parents Who Use Their Children As Pawns. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 30, 2020, from


Last updated: 13 Apr 2019
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