Last night we embarked on the first step of our journey to become foster care parents in hopes to adopt a child. After sitting in the meeting with other parents like us, I learned that we all had the same idea. I thought it was wonderful that so many want to open their homes and their lives to help these kids.
The social worker running the meeting gave us a 3 hour overview of what the process entails and it seems not very likely that you would necessarily get to adopt the first child that comes to your home. They do try to place the children with extended family first. She explained the steps to getting the parent(s) back on track and all they have to do to become and maintain a level she referred to as “minimally adequate.” That term just blows my mind but for people that are either addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, have low to no job skills, no real parenting skills or even basic life skills there is much training and support provided to them to get them to that level of “minimally adequate” so that they can take care of their own children. My heart was breaking for these people and their “broken children” as she called them. Regardless of whatever external situations occurred, at the core as a parent you love your child. The extended family members that may step up to take in these kids would have to meet the “minimally adequate” level as well and may also have to go through the foster care training, background checks and get a physical, too to be sure they are up for the job.
Something that she pointed out about the “broken children” is that they want to be with their families regardless just as our children would always want to be with us. It’s just that something happened in their life that made it unsafe for them to stay living with their mom and/or dad and now they have to adjust to living with strangers. They will be scared, sad and confused.
This is where I feel Attachment Parenting techniques really can play a big part in helping that child heal. Some things like co-sleeping are not allowed by law but nighttime parenting is still always important. Good nutrition, lots of attention and hugs, babywearing if a young child, positive encouragement, a good routine/flow to their day, etc. All of it is so nurturing for any child but especially for a “broken child.”
The social worker made it clear that the gift of love you receive from these children that you are helping is so much greater than the love you are giving to them. If and when their parents are successfully rehabilitated and the family is reunified, the gift to that child of being able to live with us and loved on and nurtured by all of us will last with him/her forever. She said, “Yes, your heart will break when they leave you if they are able to be reunified with their family and if it doesn’t, then you didn’t let yourself love them enough.”
It seems to me as with everything in life, Love is always the answer. I expect that my husband, my son and myself will have our hearts grow by leaps and bounds over this upcoming experience of opening our lives to help heal a broken child(ren). It may be very challenging at times and every person is different but we are up for it, we will be supported by both the professionals and our community in our efforts and one (or more?) of these children will eventually become legally our own.
Melissa writes about sustainability, green living, alternative health, nutrition, parenting and life in general at Nature Deva.