Four weeks ago I picked up Little Dude form the NICU. I am really the first mom he’s known, a beyond special and humbling position to hold. I’ve loved every second that I’ve held him, his little ear against my chest, listening to my heart and the sound of my voice as I sing or talk on the phone or visit with people who have come over. There is nothing quite like holding and loving a sweet little baby who isn’t even supposed to be born yet.
When I heard from the social worker today, I was not expecting her to tell me that Little Dude would be moved to a new home soon. That was not what was projected even a few days ago. A few days ago, they told me I had much more time. Plans change. There are so many factors that go into making decisions about foster babies, and when human beings are part of the factoring, you never know what will happen. There are no guarantees.
At first, I just felt numb. Now I feel sad and have definitely shed some tears. That’s how I know I’ve done my job. As a foster parent, I am charged to take care of the needs of any baby placed in my care. This means I feed them, bathe them, clothe them and take care of their every need. I take them to doctors’ appointments and to visit birthparents. I communicate with social workers and lawyers, developmental specialists, and others so that they get a picture of how the baby is doing and what more he could need.
That is only one piece of it, though. The more crucial piece is that I love them and connect with them so that they are able to attach. And, yes, the fact that Little Dude is able to attach to me means that I am attached to him. I don’t know much, but I do know that developmentally, that attachment is crucial. I’ve had experiences with teens who did not get that attachment, and they have such a hard time. I don’t know if they can ever fully recover from something like that.
Does this attachment I experience with my foster babies make it painful to let them go when it is time for them to move on? Of course it will. I am just experiencing the beginning of that pain for the first time since Little Dude is my first foster baby. Since Little Dude is a preemie, I would imagine that this time around it is going to be harder than it would have been were I placed with a full term baby who was a little bit older.
Love, attachment, loss, pain…why would I do this? I am doing it because God has called me to do it. It fills a desire of my heart that God placed there, and I trust Him. I am being called to love like Jesus loves. Jesus died for me while I was a sinner. (Romans 5:6-8) God gave me free will, so Jesus had no guarantee that I would choose to make Him Lord and Savior of my life. He took on my sin and died for me anyway so that I could live life to the full. (John 10:9-10)
Yes, I endure some hurt in this process, but I am doing it so that these babies who did not choose the circumstances of their lives will have a chance to get some of the crucial love and attachment they so desperately need in the earliest part of life so that maybe they will have a better chance in life, no matter where God takes them.