When R & J first came into our lives, it was difficult not to fall in love with them immediately. We became so attached, even though in the back of my mind I remembered that these were not our children. From the moment they walked through our front door I was a nervous wreck… going to the store with them made me want to purchase one of those dreaded child leashes. Thankfully I came to my senses. These sweet boys didn’t know that they should stay close to us… didn’t know that we were responsible for them… didn’t know how dangerous the world around them can be. They would go to anyone happily. R called my sister and one of my friends mom. We took them to a family picnic and they got to meet everyone for the first time. It was delightful to see them interact with everyone. But it made me nervous how R would follow other groups of children around that didn’t belong to our group. My Mom was the first one that noticed it. It made me wonder about their upbringing, at the time I knew very little.
As the months went by, little by little, things changed between us. It started with me feeling comfortable letting R walk behind me into the daycare center without needing to hold his hand. I knew he would stay with me those few short feet into the building. Then one day I realized that I could tell R we were leaving and he would immediately start to prepare to go without me having to scoop him up and put him in the stroller. One day I noticed that J no longer wanted to go to anyone else. He wanted me. He would cry if someone else tried to hold him, he would reach out for me, it melted my heart. When we go to play dates, it is customary that they sit on my lap and hold on to me for dear life while they acclimate to the environment before they would go play with the other kids. R stopped crying when I dropped him off at daycare because he knew I was coming back to get him, he was familiar with it and it made him comfortable. J started crying when I dropped him off at daycare because he didn’t want to leave my arms. When I pick them up their faces light up with the most incredibly joy. J does a little happy dance, while R runs into my arms for a hug!
The attachment was good… that means that we are giving them what they need. Love and nurturing. It is joyful, and I start to forget a little that these are not my children. This is the danger. But this is what we as foster parents are trained to do. We love them like they are our own children, they need this more than anything in such a traumatic time in their life. I worried about the boys attaching to us, but tried to disregard how our attachment to them would be painful in a way. What if they don’t stay… I think about this every day. It doesn’t matter anyway, because you can’t worry about your own feelings. The best thing I can think to do is to enjoy every little moment with them. Live here and now, don’t worry about the future, you are not guaranteed a future, all you have is right now. This is true whether you have foster kids or not… it’s just more real for us. In a way it’s a blessing to have this fact so real and present in our lives. I feel so appreciative of things that I used to take for granted. Just to feel what I feel when it’s happening. I just need to remember this, “Worry is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you anywhere.” – Unknown.