"I would get too attached."
Then you would be perfect! Kids need attachment more than adults need to be protected from it.
I am not scared of loss.
I am scared these children will never feel loved.
I am scared these children will not be safe.
I am scared these children will not get to be kids.
I am scared these children will be shuffled from shelter to shelter every 45 days**.
I am scared these children will grow up to perpetuate the cycle of abuse and neglect.
These children need healthy attachment. They need an example of what a family is suppose to look like. What does it mean to be a family member? How do I appropriately support my family? What is my expectation and responsibilities as a kid? (Kids in care often had to take on adult roles of caring for younger siblings or for their parents. Learning to be a kid can actually be difficult.)
These children need all of this a lot more than I need to be protected from loss.
"I could never give them back!"
No children are guaranteed. All children, even biological are a gift that can be taken away from us at any time.
The heart of this statement is like the previous. "I want to be protected from pain and loss". And I get it. It's hard. It hurts. I have cried many nights. But I know I made a difference. I did my best. I tried. I was a part of healing. Our children are better off now having been in our home. Despite the many hard and heartbreaking moments, I have never regretted any part of our Foster Care journey.
When the system is healthy, supported, and funded, it will be an honor to "give them back" because they will be going to a successfully bridged and healed family. You will get to remain in contact and continue to be another healthy adult in their lives to support them. When it is done right, you never really "give them back". Your time of bridging and mentoring merely looks different.
** Oklahoma implemented a very well-intended law. To keep kids from sitting in shelters for years waiting for caseworkers to find a suitable home or sometimes until they age out of care at 18, Oklahoma passed legislation to light a fire under the caseworkers tooshies so to speak. Children can only be placed in a shelter up to 45 days. At which time they will be discharged and need to be placed somewhere else. These are called "Emergency Shelters". All other shelters have been closing around the state. These “Emergency Shelters often share residency with other programs to help cut costs. One such shelter resides in the back portion of an assisted living facility for adults with disabilities. I have a deep passion for that as well, as my mother in law is a Habilitation Specialist. But step into the shoes of the children for a moment. They have been taken from the only thing they know and understand and without a foundational understanding of disabilities have now be placed to live with people who have disabilities. What do you think this does to their understanding of who they are and their worth?
I understand the intent behind this legislation, I really do. But with an overworked caseworker, underfunded resources, and dwindling foster/adoptive homes this means at 45 days the child will be moved to a different shelter, in a different town, with a different school, with a different therapists, and all new care takers. Every. 45. Days. If they are lucky they find a foster home. More often they get shuffled around further stunting their healing and education until they are accepted into a group home or mental health facility. Both of which handle more than just kids in custody. So the care is not as tailored to children from trauma, but children with mental health diagnosis or children who are struggling with Juvenile detention. Not getting the proper trauma therapy and support, and being a product of their environment, children in custody also begin to struggle with similar issues.