When we chose to start fostering, my biggest fear was that I would fall in love with every child that came into my home and that it would tear me apart to have to give them back at the end of their time with us. I worried that I would "get too attached" as any foster parent hears so many other people use as an excuse not to do this.
I told myself that the hard ones would be the cases where I didn't believe they were going back to a safe place. I reminded myself that I would have to learn to deal with it if they went somewhere safe, but not ideal. I prayed and crossed my fingers and tried to believe God would not lead me anywhere that I could not go.
Our first placement was so brief. They were here, we were barely beginning to figure them out, and they were gone. It was hard to see them go when we were barely getting to know them, especially when we'd been given to understand that they were likely to be on a fast track to TPR. We cried when they pulled out of the driveway and the kids talked about missing them after they left.
But they were only here a day and it was pretty easy to convince myself that we had given them a really good day. A safe day. A fun day. And that perhaps that was all we were ever meant to give them and hope and pray that the judge made the right call. (A phone call later from the caseworker letting me know of an excellent new support system for the bioparent that was unknown at the time we were told they would be TPR helped me believe that the bioparent really can do it this time.)
With L and O, they've been here a long time. L never lets me (or O) forget that we are not her parents, but she is not defiant. She trusts us as authority figures and allows us to lead her. They are the sort of case that I feared. There is still no talk of TPR, biomom is making slow progress on her case plan, the caseworker is stalling some family homestudies because she's not confident that those family members would support the reunification process with biomom and would prefer not to have to move the kids twice.
But I'm not in love with these two kids. I try. I hug and kiss and smile and tease, just like I do my biochildren. I remind myself when they push my buttons that Edmund can push that same button. But on some level, I know that I just don't feel the same way about these two that I do my original three.
And that scares me. I wonder if I'm not right for fostering because I am, frankly, eager for biomom to finish her caseplan and get her kids back. I try to tell myself that I'm just really, really supporting their reunification because I can tell that she loves these two and that she is trying really hard to do what she needs to do. But, deep down, I'm afraid that I just want them to go away.