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Attachment: where’s the velcro when you need it…

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Attaching to a toddler is hard.

Baby D. does not feel that attaching to Leo or me is really all that difficult.

I’ve been struggling a lot with not feeling momish to this little guy. But, I do like him. A lot.

He’s freakin’ gorgeous. And he’s funny. And when he’s not throwing ear peircing tantrums, he’s really a pleasant little booger.

So… I’ll keep him for as long as he needs me. And I’ll kiss him, and hug him and stare into his eyes. I’ll sing to him and rock him and feed him good food. But I’m having a hard time loving him in that mom place.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m little guarded after losing Cordelia, or because I’m afraid of Simeon feeling like there’s less room for him, or maybe I’m just not supposed to feel so feely for this kid.

But I’ve been seriously talking to Jesus about it. And y’all, there’s the barliest spark starting. It happened first on Friday. He snuggled on my shoulder and patted my back. Then sat up and patted my face. And smiled. And my stomach did a little sumersault.

And it happened again today. He snuggled in my lap and smeared crackers on my pajama pants. And smiled. In my eyes. And I felt the slightest flicker of the good kind of ache in my heart.

I’m sharing this because there may be some foster parents out there who have felt the lovey, gooey feelings before, and are also feeling… dry? Or maybe a foster parent who’s afraid they will never be able to feel real parent love.

I’m sharing because I want you to know that attachment is a two way street. And sometimes we have to work on attaching us to them, too. And sometimes a child will come in and you will “feel” that this is your child. And you will love easily and freely and the sweet lovey feelings will be free flowing.

And sometimes a child will come in and you will not. Even if you like them quite a lot. And it’s OK. It doesn’t mean the palcement is wrong. It doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with you (or me). Sometimes, it simply takes time. And prayers.


About Monica

Christ following, husband loving, children hugging foster and adoptive mama.

7 responses »

  1. For me it has been a different experience with every child placed with us. Some kids I immediately feel an attachment to, a need to protect and love and nurture. Others I get two months into the placement and think, what is wrong with me???? Because I don’t feel any attachment at all.

    Fostering, for me, has taught me what love REALLY is. To keep showing love even when you don’t feel it – that’s what love is!

    You’re awesome. I love this post.

  2. @Maggie – you nailed it! Fostering is to keep showing love even when you don’t feel it!

    I’ve been mulling over a blog post of my own concerning this topic. I feel almost no “love” for Pumpkin at all. I want to advocate for her! I want to protect her with all of my being! But the mushy gushy love stuff just isn’t coming for me. Her personality and developmental delays put her in a place where she just doesn’t give love to others. No language. No hugs. No eye contact. None of it is possible. And it’s pretty hard to fall in “love” with a lump. (Sounds just horrible. I know!!)

    This was a great post! You’re a great foster mamma Monica! Keep up the great work!!

  3. Thank you for this! We have a little guy in our home who’s been here nearly 3 months. I am still working on the attachment šŸ™‚ I appreciate your honesty. It helps me feel that I am not alone… and that there is hope.

  4. You are such an incredible person. It is natural to feel a loss because you’ve had one. My friend, who adopted, has spoken to me about attachment…she loves him, but she doesn’t always like him…yet. But she’s praying and knows it will come.

  5. Our first FD leaving was a huge loss, and it was hard to get to that “mom place” afterward- I call it the feeling of “mine”- I know I’m on the right track when I look at my child and get that feeling in my heart that he’s mine. You’re right- attachment goes both ways. I find the more attachment cues I use to help our child attach, the more attached I become- it’s definitely a two-way street. That and time and coming to peace with losses in the past, and of course purposely trying to be open of heart… they’re all part of the process. `So glad you’re sharing your hard-earned wisdom on this, especially for new foster parents out there! Good luck!

  6. Love is a choice! In our society we’re told that love is some magic quality that is bestowed on the lucky. Not true! Love can grown from nothing when we choose to nurture it and put our hearts on the line. Love is also a process, it doesn’t happen overnight. I’ve prayed to feel greater love for someone too, it does help.

    I remember having times where I didn’t “love” my children – they were draining and gave so little in return. For me, demonstrating the love I didn’t feel in that moment but did have was an act of determination and diligence. Love means many things, not just sweet hugs and kisses. Being there for Baby D is showing love, the sweetness is sure to follow. You’re doing great, don’t push yourself to run faster than your heart can keep up.

  7. Pingback: Letting Go When Foster Children Leave

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