Me and Baby

Foster Care Question: Don’t You Get Attached?

I get asked a few foster care questions over and over again so I will attempt to address them here on occasion.

Don’t You Get Attached?

Of course. Isn’t that the point? Would you want a child to live in a home where the adults weren’t attached? Neglect isn’t just about not feeding or properly clothing children. Neglect is about not reacting when they cry and scream and laugh and get into trouble. Parenting means we act and react. We pay attention. We care.

And as foster parents, we called to meet these needs until the birth families can. We are not merely vessels of roofs and winter coats and arriving on time for appointments.  We are examples of safety and connection, and this means we, as foster parents, must be attached to all the children in our homes. I just don’t see another way.

Me and Baby
Me holding the baby in the ER while we waited to be admitted a few weeks ago.

But even the caseworkers and the lawyers say what they ask of foster parents is difficult– to unreservedly attach while knowing we will have to say goodbye in a month or a year. We may agree or disagree with the judge’s decision, but we will have no choice or say in the matter. Our job is to love and care until we are told to let go.

I haven’t had to say goodbye so I am not an expert on my reaction. I assume it will be hard. When I think about it, it is hard. It brings up tears and heartbreak not because I will disagree with the outcome — I believe in reunification — but because I am attached. Because I will always attach. Children need love, and as I’ve said before, in our family the love comes easy. No matter what the price.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

6 thoughts to “Foster Care Question: Don’t You Get Attached?”

  1. I love reading your posts, and the last few about your foster child are perhaps my favorites. It’s people like you and the others in your family who make the world a lovely place. Your little one is lucky that she (or he) found her way to your home, for whatever length of time it may be. The time spent with you is sure to add a sense of security, safety, and happiness to this little one’s life. Thank you.

  2. That is beautiful and brave and I know your family is giving this baby exactly what he or she needs, both physically and emotionally. Thank you for giving this baby a home and a loving family.

  3. I’ve recently been exploring the internet to find good humour blogs, and came upon yours. Your writing definitely makes me laugh. Then I got to this post. We’re reminded all the time about the ugly place the internet can be, but a post like this shows us the beauty, and depth of character that can reside behind a blog name.

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