Expanding Our Attachment

by Amber Strocel on September 28, 2008

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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.

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Amber Strocel (32 Posts)

Amber is a hippie mama to two, a writer, a dreamer, a student, an erstwhile engineer and a lover of chocolate. She lives in suburban Vancouver with her family and one very cranky tabby cat. Keep up with her on her blog at Strocel.com.


{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica September 29, 2008 at 6:03 am

Melissa, first of all, I admire your family’s choice to foster a child. Right now, a close family member is experiencing something similar (she needed to take custody of her grandchildren for a number of reasons). While she is experiencing some challenging moments being their guardian (and boy does she love them), one comment she made really resonated with me. She said, “As much as they need discipline, they really just need to be loved.”

I totally agree that attachment parenting principles will not only come into play but are wonderful ways to help heal a “broken” child. To be honest, I find that many of the principles may help a “broken” adult learn how to love and be loved too.

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Theresa September 29, 2008 at 12:16 pm

How sad is it that there needs to be a law against co-sleeping :(

You are doing a wonderful thing. Best of luck in your journey.

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justine September 29, 2008 at 2:10 pm

We’ve often considered becoming a foster family for this very reason! It is so wonderful to think of a child who has been through a stressful or traumatic event being able to heal and rest in a loving, trusting, respectful environment.

I hope that you will keep us all updated on this new and exciting journey your family is taking.

Blessings!

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Nature Deva September 30, 2008 at 3:08 pm

Thanks, you all. I will definitely keep you updated as this progresses.

I know in my area there is a desperate need for more certified families to help out with fostering kids of all ages. There is even a program called “respite care” which basically gives a foster family a break like when they go on vacation and can’t take the foster child with them or if they need a day off to do errands, etc. You would be filling in and watching the child(ren) for a day or a few days so you would be able to help out but not as a long term thing. You do need to have gone through the training classes to be certified with your county.

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Karolina July 26, 2010 at 1:55 pm

I find it so sad that birthparents, by law, only have to provide “minimally adequate” care to their children. Blood ties are stressed over the actual care, time, effort, and love that a caretaker is able and willing to provide to the child. My husband and I are foster parents, and our foster daughter, whom we’ve had for 10 months (she’s almost 17 months now) is hopefully going back home to mom this week. If we didn’t befriend her and offer our continued assistance (and have her be open to it), I wouldn’t feel as comfortable having my baby going back to a less than stellar environment. I keep having to tell myself that in the end, even if the day-to-day life may be different than what we would’ve provided, she will grow up with her mother and never have to question why her firstmother abandoned her or gave up on her, thus necessitating that we adopt her. It breaks my heart, but this isn’t about me. She got the best start in life we could’ve provided for her, with tons of affection and attention, and all we can do is hope that she continues to demand it from her mom! ;)

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