Keeping It Real ~ Stick Families and Invisible Children

Keeping It Real is a series of posts where I like to give you all a glimpse into my real life.  
All opinions are my own and not intended to be controversial.
Have you seen those cute stick family decals on the back of vehicles all over the place?
When they first became popular I thought 
what a great way to declare
“here we are world, the Painchaud Family!”


In the very next moment I had to stop.
And quickly wonder what we could do for our “invisible children”.
You see, on the outside, we appear to be a compact family of four.
But we are so much more than that.
Darcy and I are Foster Parents and have been caring for young people in our home for over eight years {since I was twenty-four}.  At this very moment we have a menagerie of young people in our home: the core {Darcy, me & the boys}, my {big} little brother, our foster son and our foster daughter.  Throughout the years we have had many children and young adults touch our hearts.  Far too many to line the back window of our van with stick figures…
My little bro is twenty and trying to figure out life after high school.
He is a huge help around the house and a great babysitter for the boys.
Our foster son is also twenty and was living on his own until that situation fell through.
He’s a big part of our family and always has a place with us ~ which is currently on the couch.
Our foster daughter is a new addition to the family and has a great sense of humour that keeps us all laughing.
These are my “invisible children”.
It is extremely important to protect our foster children’s identity.  
When they are grown it will be up to them to decided what and how much they want to disclose about their past.
You will never see me share their names or photographs ~ even on Facebook.
It makes me really sad.
To be honest I am tearing up as I write this.
I want these young people to be known.
Known for their
work ethic, 
loving disposition,
sense of humour,
and for the huge impact that they have on our lives every day.
I feel so incredibly blessed to be a part of their journey.
So you see, our family cannot be defined by a cute stick people window decal.
We are so much more than that.

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  1. Danni Baird @ Silo Hill Farm says

    Heather I was a foster parent for many years as well. I know exactly what you are talking about. Protecting the kids privacy was paramount. (There was not a lot of social media back then) When my foster daughter was honored with the title of “Little Miss Merry Christmas” in our town, we politely/sadly declined because of the publicity. Even when someone wanted her as their flower girl in a big many pictures would be out there. 5 years later, I adopted this girl and wouldn’t some of those things have been lovely to have in her memory album? You are so right. Foster kids are some of the bravest kids I’ve ever met. Foster/Adoptive parents, some of the most wonderful adults I’ve ever met too.

  2. L.A. says

    Heather, thank you for this beautiful post. I understand your need to protect these children but I’m so glad you shared this little snippet with us. Thinking of you and your entire family 🙂

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