Every foster parent will tell you that there are tough days. That one of the hardest parts is saying goodbye to a child who has been in your care.
When some families wonder if they could become foster parents, they may think, “I can’t foster children. I would get too attached.”
But every foster parent will also tell you that each tear shed while saying goodbye is worth it.
Getting attached is the perfect reason to become a foster parent. You’re supposed to get attached to children in your care.
Children in foster care need a compassionate adult to become attached to them during the most vulnerable time of their life. They need someone to sit at the dining room table and help them with algebra. They need someone to cook their favorite food and get to know their likes and dislikes. They need someone to be there for them when they wake up with nightmares, or when they can’t sleep at night.
When everything they have ever known is turned upside-down, children in foster care need someone to care enough to get attached.
Yes, it’s scary to think of saying goodbye to a child you’ve grown attached to. But consider what it would be like if you were 4 years old. Or 10. Or 16. And you had to say goodbye to your family, your friends, your bedroom, and your favorite toy.
And after all that, you were placed in a shelter because there simply weren’t enough foster homes in your town.
This year, western Iowa children have already been referred into foster care more than 200 times. Some were temporarily placed in shelters until a suitable foster home was found.
Entering foster care was never their choice. As adults, we get to choose. It is our responsibility to step up and, yes, even get attached. Because their wellbeing and safety matters more than our feelings.
Learn more about foster care at LSIowa.org/foster. Get attached. They’re worth it.
(Susan Salmon, Director of Lutheran Services in Iowa Foster Care and Adoption, can be reached at Susan.Salmon@LSIowa.org.)