We met with the county social worker handling our little baby’s case. Besides being inundated with the plethora of appointments we need to take the baby to as part of court and agency required assessments and services, we were also told that if the adoption were to happen, we would not expect it to happen until up to 24 months later! She told us though that we should know more clearly where things are heading after 12 months! But during that time, we’ll get no updates on the case’s progress. So at least for 12 months, we wouldn’t know where things were heading; we would be in the dark for a year.
People have said to us, “Don’t get too attached to the baby because you may have to let him go.” They suggest we should hold back from the baby, otherwise if we allow ourselves to fully love him and include him in our lives we may get seriously hurt. It makes sense to protect oneself emotionally; self-preservation is natural and key to living.
But when we look at this child, feel him in our arms and listen to him when he coos, cries and “talks,” we find that we both choose to love him and can’t help but to love him. We look at him and see that what he needs is not a babysitter but parents. As of now, we’re called to be his parents at least for this period of his life. If after a year, he leaves us, he may not remember us and, yes, it will surely break our hearts. But I have to honestly say my sense of love has been challenged in a practical way. I’m challenged and called to love him not because I know he will be here for me in my old age, or that I’ll get to be at his college graduation, or that I’ll get to help tie his first tie, or that I’ll get to play ball or Legos with him when he becomes a boy. I don’t have any of these foreseeable things as certainties in the future. But what I have with him is now. And right now, I choose to love him with the risk that in a year this may leave a deep hole in my heart. I choose to love him because what he needs right now is a father. I choose to love him because if you could see him like the way I see him, you have to love him. I choose to feed him, change him, burp him, embrace him, buy toys for him, play with him, sing to him, read to him, talk to him and pray over him… right now. The love I’m learning and choosing to give is one that expects nothing in return. It is a love that is offered now with no guarantees for a future. But I do believe that while I may not have a future with him, the love I sow in him now (though he may not remember it) will leave an imprint on his soul for a lifetime.
2 thoughts on “Foster Dad 3: Don’t Get Too Attached (?)”
I am a foster mother to a one year old that came to us at a couple days old. Just like you we heard from many not get attached and certainly not to let our birth children get attached. I agree whole-heartedly with your essay, I choose to love this baby with all of my heart because that is what is best for her and I wouldn’t trade a day of it away. We have watched her grow and become a more typical baby in our care. We have watched our birth children fall in love with their sister and we are all thankful for the time we have with her. If she leaves we all will be broken hearted but we will also all survive. We don’t know how long we have with anyone in our lives. I grow tired of people saying thank goodness there are people like you to take care of these babies, I couldn’t do it, I would grow too attached. I wonder, do they think I am an ice queen? Do they think I am not attached to her or that my heart won’t break if she leaves? What they don’t see is the gift she gives me, our children are gifts, birth or foster. What she adds to our lives is a hundred times more then I give. They also don’t see how many beautiful children need a loving home with foster parents that are willing to open their hearts.
Sorry for the rambling, it feels good to “talk” to someone who truly understands the feelings and love I have for my precious daughter.
Foster Mom :*)
Thank you for your reply and sharing that you are a fellow foster parent. I too appreciate the conversation with another who is in this unique experience as we are. I hear you in that we do not pose ourselves as superhumans who are impervious to pain. We just choose to love and do good in the face and threat of pain. I appreciate the “talk”. Thank you. God bless you in this journey of love and sacrifice. I look forward to any future comments you may leave me on my blog. I’d be glad to hear about your progress.