Facing the fear of attachment and loss is a normal concern for anyone considering foster care. It is hard to imagine pouring your love into a child, only to say goodbye at some unknown point in the future. Thus, if you are the kind of person who has enough love to bring a foster child into your home, then there is a real probability that it will be painful to see your foster child leave.
So, how do you prepare for the separation that inevitably comes when you foster a child?
1) Recognize That Attachment is a Sign of Love
Humans attach to the people they care about and love the people they welcome into their lives. Becoming attached to your foster child is not negative. In fact, it is a sign that foster parenting is a good fit for you. Bonding with your foster child is a positive, healthy expression of love.
2) Acknowledge That Foster Kids Need Memories of Healthy Attachment
Processing loss and dealing with trauma are difficult for anyone, especially a child. For a foster child, these struggles are often on-going. Making Meaningful Connections, a child welfare resource guide, explains how kids who have “consistent relationship with caring adults in the early years of life” have more successful interactions and “increased ability to cope with stress later in life” (p. 12).
Foster parents play a key role in helping children develop a positive connection with authority figures. These constructive attachments build the child’s sense of self-worth, create beneficial memories, and demonstrate what healthy relationships look like.
3) Accept That Attachment and Loss are Normal Experiences in Life
Connecting with people and losing touch are events that happen all through life. Impactful teachers often have no further contact after graduation. Counselors, doctors, co-workers, and fellow students all come and go as well. Even much-loved friends or relatives may have little contact after moves or due to illness. Even when faced with these potential losses, healthy people continue to connect because the relationship provides the environment for transformation.
Make no mistake, separations are not easy. Loving a child and seeing him or her leave can be very hard, but the meaning and growth that comes from the attachment between a foster parent and a foster child is worth every challenge.
Learn More About Raising a Foster Child
For more information on how you can connect with a child that needs your love, contact us today.