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.
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.