Hi, all! We’re officially into the fall/winter holiday season, which is my favorite time of year. The joy of experiencing this through a child in foster care makes it even sweeter. For the last several blogs, the topic has come to me in the middle of the night, often right out of a slumber. I wake up and immediately start “writing” the blog in my head. When it happened this week, I had to pause and reflect on how therapeutic this blog has been. It helps me to organize my thoughts and express them in a vulnerable way. Although I’m posting mine on a public platform, I encourage you to reflect and write, too. Get those tangled up thoughts out of your head and onto a piece of paper. It’s really quite fulfilling. Anyways, onto the topic of the day!
Temporary. Webster’s Dictionary defines temporary as “lasting for only a limited period of time. Not permanent.” Foster care is designed to be temporary. The foster placement in your home is temporary. The school meetings and appointments are temporary. The scheduled visits with biological parents are temporary. But the emotions, the connection, the attachment? They feel anything but temporary.
I’ve found being a foster parent produces a lot of polarizing feelings. As we talked about last blog, foster parenting is isolating but also, you’re fully wrapped in supports. Beyond that, you know foster care is likely temporary, but the feelings you hold for the child or children in your care are not. You support fully. You love fully. You pour into them fully. Then, in many cases, they leave. Their belongings leave. The meetings end. The visits end. But the emotions, the connection, the attachment? Those don’t just end.
As I’ve mentioned in my previous blogs, I currently am lucky enough to have a little friend living with me right now. His placement is looking to be longer – months, at least. We have formed a little family all while I continue to support him and his parents as they work to make their family stronger. It’s magical to experience holidays, special events, and general day-to-day life with biological children. No doubt about that. But with a child in foster care? You experience all of the magic knowing it’s likely the only holiday or special event of its kind that you’ll get to be a part of. We just had the most fun Halloween weekend and I found myself wondering if this will be our last Halloween spent together. It’s very possible that it is! Another polarizing feeling comes in. I would be so happy for this kiddo’s family to be healthy and safe to reunite together. On the flip side, the thought that the firsts are also the lasts can be heartbreaking.
So where do we go from here? We relish in the moments we have. We remind ourselves that they are leaving stamps on our heart just as we are for them. We are grateful for the lessons learned. We wrap ourselves in the reason we chose to do this in the first place. I’m revisiting my favorite foster care quote that I’ve found: “I promise you love + family + all that I can give. Even if only for a little while.” It’s temporary.
Even if only for a little while.
By Anne Peters, LMFT