“Oh, I could never be a foster parent, I’d get too attached!” Boy I’ll tell you what, this is an all too common response from friends, family, acquaintances and strangers. I’ll admit, this used to make my eye twitch due to the perceived implication that I’m a heartless robot who doesn’t get attached to the children in my home. However, as time goes on, experience is gained and my mind is opened I’ve discovered that this isn’t the case and there is no implication on my capacity to love. This is not a jab at me nor does it have anything to do with me, this is a fear reflex from another person with a big ol’ loving heart.
Now, the greatest thing about you having a big ol’ loving heart and fear of getting “too attached” means you are the perfect candidate to become a foster or adoptive parent! The fact that you know you’ll get “too attached” makes you human, loving and compassionate which is exactly what these children need! I’ll be the first to say I get “too attached”, I’ve grieved, hurt and cried my eyes out but it’s worth every bit of pain in our big ol’ hearts to see their little hearts can grow and heal. The smile on their faces, the hugs, silly dances, ice cream dates and “I love you’s” make every bit of it worth it plus more!
Let’s be real, we all know this is not going to be easy by any means and it’s not all good feelings and sunshine. Just being a parent in general can test every bit patience, perseverance and grit that you possess. Your nerves are shot 24/7 and some days you’re so exhausted that you wake up tired and go to bed awake wondering if you’re doing a good job or not (you are!). Becoming a foster parent increases those stresses as you’ll be handling traumas and horrible experiences that the children experienced at the hands of those that were supposed to love them as well as meeting CPS and Agency licensing requirements. The situation will be new and scary to the kids that are removed from their homes and placed with a stranger. It will be hard for you as you take in a child you know nothing about with nothing to provide other than love, hope and a prayer while you try to build a relationship with them.
There will be nights where you might lay by their bed for hours with your hand on their back to let them know you’re there and they are safe. There will be days where passing by a certain area triggers a trauma response and you have to pull over to comfort them and let them know you’ll never hurt them. There will be days where your family and friends act like they don’t want your kids around their kids like they are some sort of disease ready to infect them. Strangers won’t understand what the child has been through and when they have a trauma reaction in public they will be quick to give you unwarranted advice like “they just need a spanking” or let you know “oh, I couldn’t do that, I’d get too attached”. But you will gain perseverance, patience, grit and a level of love and protection for these kids like you never knew was humanely possible. You will willingly become a shield around them time and time again to protect their hearts and minds and help them grow and be free from their pasts.
Friends, I leave you with this. Imagine being a child growing up in a world full of abuse, drugs, fear, insecurity, trauma and craving love and stability. Now imagine a person who is perfectly capable of providing you a safe and loving home says “sorry, I’d get too attached to you”. This is exactly what we do when we let fear of hurt get in the way or our ability to help and change the world for a child in need! If you’ve ever thought about becoming a foster/adoptive parent but were afraid of getting attached just know that you will get attached. We all do! But you’ll also be making the greatest investment possible and changing generations one life at a time! Is it hard? Yes! Is it worth it? Definitely! Would we do it again over and over? You betcha!
Change The Face of Fostering is a community focused group dedicated to providing support and resources to current and prospective Foster and Adoptive families in the North Texas Area. If you or anybody you know are interested in becoming a foster parent, supporter or just interested in learning about fostering you can reach us via email at email@example.com or visiting our website at https://www.ctfof.org.