Aren't you afraid you'll get too attached?
I could never fall in love and then let the kids go.
My biggest fear would be having the kids taken away from me.
Four years ago my brother, Paul, died unexpectedly. It sucked. I cried. I wept. I sobbed. I felt like I was in a dream and would wake up any moment. I wondered if I'd ever feel happy again. And then, slowly, I began to heal. I wouldn't say that I ever really got over it. Rather, I incorporated his death into my own life story. It was a transformative experience. I explored my spirituality and I grew as a person. I'll always miss my brother, and my heart still aches when I think about the fact that I never got to see him hold or play with my children. But I survived his death.
That experience was an important stepping stone in my fostering journey. Truth be told, I was once one of those people who thought "I could never do that ... I could never love a child as my own and then let them go." But after going through my brother's death I realized that I could survive a lot more than I thought I could. It was the tipping point between "I could never" to "Maybe ... "
So here's the nitty gritty truth of what it's really like to say goodbye to kids I've fostered and loved for eight months: It sucks. I've cried. I've wept. I've sobbed. My own sadness at missing the kids is nothing compared to the torture I feel when I wonder how the kids are doing. I hate to be alone, because then my mind is silent enough to start asking questions. Horrible questions. Are the kids being cared for properly? Does the two-year-old wonder why his mommy (me) dropped him off and never came back for him? Does the five-year-old - who asked me repeatedly if she could stay at our house - think that we didn't love her enough to keep her? Is the new family aware that those difficult behaviors mask much deeper feelings? Are they patient and kind with my former children?
But I will happily endure all this grief to know that I've lessened, to some extent, the pain in their young lives. And regardless of that fact, this has still been an amazing experience for me personally. I'm not a martyr. As the saying goes, it's better to have loved and lost then never to have loved at all. I would never wish that my brother hadn't existed so that I could be spared the pain of his death. Equally, I would never trade away this experience of fostering these three beautiful children. Every ounce of pain was more than worth it.