I hear this statement, “I couldn’t do it, I’d get too attached,” OFTEN. Wish I had a dollar (or ten) for every time I have heard that. It could fund my retail therapy at Target, Carters, and Amazon!
Truthfully, I struggle with how to respond & sometimes I find it to be kind of offensive. What I hear is: “Good thing there are people like you who can easily say goodbye to kids at a moments notice, because I would never be able to do that, I love kids too much.” Now, I do not think this is what most people mean to imply, but to sensitive, sleep deprived foster moms like myself it can be internalized that way, rather than as a “compliment”.
“I couldn’t do it, I’d get too attached.”
Well, me too. “I’d get too attached” too. I’ve gotten too attached (4 times now). I love kids too much too. That’s the whole point. Teaching attachment, a VITAL component of human development. The people saying this & similar statements to me are the VERY SAME PEOPLE these kids desperately NEED. They need that deep bond, unconditional love, sacrifice. They need someone to lay down their life for them, to risk total heartbreak.
They don’t just need a babysitter. That is the other question I am often asked, “Does fostering feel like you’re babysitting 24/7?” Nope. Because for whatever period of time they are in our home we are their family & I treat them as my own the minute they come through our front door. For the newborns that means tons of skin to skin time, babywearing, massage, quickly responding to cries/needs, and positive engagement (singing, clapping, peek a boo, etc)… not just feeding bottles and changing diapers…though that is important too! For toddlers (we are 0-4yrs) it means lots of eye contact, getting down to their level (sit on the floor with them etc), 1 on 1 time, tickles, giggles & kisses, “airplane rides” on my feet, praise at new discoveries and mastered skills, consistent routines, holding, reading books, dancing etc. And honestly, who LOVES babysitting ?! Not me… I’d rather dive in, give it all I’ve got, love them like they’re my own for as long as I get to, and enjoy that attachment relationship no matter the risk down the road for myself.
Love is ALWAYS costly. Would you ever tell someone not to get into dating relationships because they may get their heart broken? Not to marry because it could end in divorce (50% do now-a-days afterall) ? Of course not. “‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never have loved at all” (Alfred Lord Tennyson). Each relationship I have built with our foster children whether for 5 weeks (our shortest) or 8 months (our longest thus far) has been SO WORTH the heartache. The memories made (and the pictures to prove it) will last forever. They forever changed me as a person & have brought SO much joy to our lives. We just got to spend time at a pumpkin patch with 2 of our previous kiddos and what a PRIVILEGE it is to be a part of their story. I pray that the attachment they learned in our home for 8 months carries with them forever and transfers to other healthy relationships… that is what it is all about.
Countless studies have been done on “attachment theory” all finding ATTACHMENT to be one of the most influential developmental tasks in infancy which sets the foundation from which many developmental outcomes are initially formed. Insecure attachment early in life is linked to an increased likelihood of psychological diagnoses later in life like depression, anxiety, RAD, PTSD, ODD, OCD, suicidal tendencies, and eating disorders. Conversely, researchers have found that secure attachment patterns established early in life (first 3 years) lead to stronger self-esteem, more independence, better school performance, more successful social relationships, and less chance of psych diagnoses later in life.
ATTACHMENT is NECESSARY.
Healthy adult caregivers, with faith in God and our support systems, can recover from the grief of saying goodbye. We CAN DO IT. If we choose to say YES. These kids on the other hand, they CAN’T afford to do without- if no one takes a risk and dives in loving them, connecting, and fostering attachment early on, the entirety of their lives could be negatively affected.
So bottom line: anyone who thinks they “couldn’t do it”, WE NEED YOU TO. The babies and kids need you.
YOU could change the trajectory of a child’s life.
(**I feel the need to add, however, there are some instances where I would not recommend it… such as if you’ve recently experienced a loss and haven’t fully processed or healed from that loss.)
** If you wish to follow our journey, click “MENU” and “follow blog” and enter your email to receive email updates on latest posts. Also, if you have ever considered fostering & have questions don’t hesitate to reach out via the comments or “Contact Me”. I’m happy to share what I have learned from the process and from others walking this journey far longer than us. There will never be the “perfect time”… ❤️
3 thoughts on ““I Couldn’t Do It, I’d Get Too Attached””
I came across your post today and it could not have come at a better time. My first foster baby was sent back to live with her bio father yesterday. We received her when she was 3 months old and currently she is 20 months old. It has been the worst 36 hours I have endured since losing my mother. Our hearts our shattered, I am grateful for the time we had together!! I pray the last 17 months has provided her a solid foundation so that she can grow to be a positive, productive, happy member of society. Your post helped me to remember all the positive for fostering.
I am so sorry for your loss & the heartbreak you are enduring. Your foster daughter was so blessed by having a family attach and love her sacrificially, risking total heartbreak so that she could have stability and know love and safety during such a hard time in her life. You all are doing it right & she was/is so blessed by that. Will pray for you all & for her in her transition with reunifying. 🙏💕 Foster Care needs more families like yours who jump all in risking their hearts for these kids. Thank you. Praying for healing and peace for you all.
I need this today as our first little is leaving. I wondered if I could do this again. Thank you for sharing I will be coming back to read it often.
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