This is good food for thought. I always appreciate your perspective and wisdom, Sharon.
Re-reading my original post, I can see that I came across as a little flippant . . . I should clarify.
First, let me say that my biological children have offered up their share of challenges and challenging behaviors, and yes, I have felt deep frustration and fear that I'm doing it all wrong, and I have certainly made my share of mistakes, but ultimately my love for them runs much deeper than any frustrations or fears or mistakes, and I keep on getting up in the morning and trying to do it all again - hopefully a little better this time. (I have one child, in particular, who came to this world with a little bit MORE. To draw on Mary Sheedy Kurcinka's definition of a spirited child, he's "more intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent, and energetic." I have learned that a child with that level of spirit requires just as much sensitivity, perceptiveness, persistence, and energy from a parent.)
And I certainly don't mind having their friends over to play and I think it's fun to observe kids at their school activities and soccer games and such.
As I reflect more on what I meant by "not liking kids," I guess I would say I struggle to connect with children that I don't know very well. And I feel very panicky when called on to manage their behaviors. I feel like I connect with MY kids because I know all about them - where they're at developmentally, what their capacity is for understanding language, what their habits are, the sorts of activities they enjoy, the types of things they're interested in, etc. Because I know these things about them, I know what to expect from them and can both connect with them and manage their behaviors
For example, I volunteered in my son's cub scout group as a leader for around a year, and while I enjoyed getting to know the boys, it was difficult for me to manage their behaviors, ie, get them to stay on task and be respectful and cooperative. Some people seem to have a knack for that kind of thing, and it's really just not one of my strengths. That's what i struggle with when babysitting, too - not having the in-depth understanding of a child's personality, capabilities, and background that would allow me to interact with them effectively. I just don't know what to expect from them. In situations like that, I feel like I've been thrown in the deep end of the swimming pool - and I don't know how to swim. That's the feeling I'm describing when I say "I don't like kids."
So I guess that's where I'm concerned. I'm keenly aware that a child who is in foster care and/or whose biological parents' rights have been revoked has experienced extreme trauma and instability that will affect their physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being in profound ways. I know that the awful things they've experienced have a very real effect on their brain chemistry and that the trauma that these kiddos have gone through is something that can be manifest through difficult behaviors. ("The children who need the most love will ask for it in the most unloving ways.") I do know that I'm capable of loving a child through some pretty unlovable behaviors, but I don't know if I'm capable of that kind of love for a child I don't know as intimately as I know my children.
So I guess I'd say that I'm concerned that a new, unfamiliar child who may have exceptionally challenging behaviors, plus my lack of awesomeness at connecting with kids I don't know well, could combine to create an unhealthy emotional environment for everyone involved, particularly for the child. I really don't want to further traumatize an already traumatized child.
So maybe fostering/foster adoption is something best left to the people who are naturally good at connecting with kids?