Today, I was thinking again about the “How do you not get attached?” question that people ask foster parents. It’s a stupid question — I do get attached. Intentionally. Children deserve to be loved. They need to see that they are lovable.
I am going to be crushed when they leave. It’s inevitable, so why should I even try to protect myself, especially when any distance I create between us is only hurtful to is both?
But as I thought this, I realized that there was one exception, one rule, one thing I learned early on to never do:
I do not think of the future.
I mean, a month or so down the line is necessary for the intensive scheduling of appointments that usually accompanies foster placements.
But a year? Five years? I know better than that now.
I do not picture them staying in my life, or me in theirs. I do not imagine getting to see them grow up.
Unless it’s after Thanksgiving, I don’t plan to share Christmas with them.
In some ways, this has helped me grow closer to the people who are in my life permanently, and it certainly helps me avoid some of the bitterness than naturally occurs at the end of a foster placement.
But most of all, it helps me to focus on making today matter for all of us.