“‘I don’t know how you can do it. I would never be able to give a child back.’
‘Don’t you get attached?’
‘Is it hard when they leave?’
These are some of the most frequent questions I get asked as a foster parent. To some people, it’s hard to grasp the idea of children only staying temporarily, especially when it’s close family or friends who see firsthand the bond I develop with my foster children. It’s undeniable. I wholeheartedly love each and every child who has and who has yet to come through my front door.
With some children, you dread the day they move on in their journey without you, and others, you start to count down the days until you get your semi-peaceful home back. But, I promise that doesn’t mean we love the more difficult cases any less! Foster parent’s develop a unique bond with every child. My answer will never change when I get asked. Yes, it is hard. Very hard.
Truth is, we grieve, and it’s not just a short period of time that we feel sadness. It’s wondering for weeks, months, and sometimes years, how that child is doing. You wonder what they’re doing in that very moment when you find a missing sock of theirs at the bottom of the toy box, and you remember just how long you searched for it that day, seven months ago. Or when you dress in layers, and you remember just how excited your foster son was when you had him put a white t-shirt under the plaid, button-up, long sleeve shirt he proudly picked out for himself. ‘Mom, look! I got two shirts!!! I look SO cool!!!’ Just that brings tears to your eyes instantly.
Six months later, and it takes you right back to that painful moment (for me, it was my very first) you had to say your final goodbye to a child you poured your whole heart and soul into. Then, you remember, you will pour your entire heart into every child who walks through your door, whether it be for a very short period of time or years. You WILL give every child your absolute all. This journey isn’t easy. It’s chaotic, heart wrenching, frustrating, tiring, and it will make your head spin. But this road is also filled with joy, laughter, happy memories, smiles, hugs, and love, SO MUCH LOVE. Love is always wanting what’s best for someone, even if their journey doesn’t end with you.
Each and every one of my foster children are just as much mine as any biological child could ever be. So yes, I do get attached, and I will get my heart broken more times than I can count. But attachment is exactly what these children need to learn to form future healthy relationships. When it’s their time to leave, they will know how loved they are. I will encourage them to always carry the self-confidence they need to accomplish anything their little hearts may desire, and to be brave and never give up. And I will continue to give my heart to every child who enters my home. Inevitably it will break all over again, but I will do it over and over because, in the end, love will always win.
One proud foster mama”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Kelsey Flannery. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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