complicated emotions

Thursday, May 24, 2012

After a lengthy day away, sweet Baby D crawled all over our living room with delight. It’s the first time I’ve noticed that he has appreciated our house. He smiled when I brought him in the door, and he played happily for a couple hours. (Highly unusual behavior for him in late afternoon/early evening – typically he’s crying this time of the day.)  A couple weeks ago, he crawled up in my lap voluntarily. Last week, he reached for me when I picked him up from a visit.

All of those signs point to the fact that he has started to attach to me. Finally. I expected it long before now. We’ve never cared for a child so attached to his mom and dad. Which is good – so very, very good. However, it’s made my job in particular a little more difficult. It doesn’t feel so good to foster a baby who is so attached to his parents. It doesn’t feel so good to just feel like the babysitter day after day. Right now, I don’t want to be more than the babysitter. I want him to stay attached to his mama. I just don’t know how long he’ll be here, and I think time is running out for us to continue our relationship as is. I don’t believe this in-between stuff is healthy for him long-term at his age. Either he needs to really start shifting his allegiance to me, or he needs to go home with his mama for good.

This is a highly unscientific post. There is no tangible evidence that what I believe about this situation is true. It’s just my gut, and I have learned to trust my mothering instincts. I’m just continuing to pray that he is reunified with his mama soon because I really believe that’s what’s best for him. All of the mixed-up feelings about safety and dysfunction and what’s best for children swirl in my head daily. Fortunately, it’s not up to me to make the decisions. All that’s up to me is to balance the emotions and the facts and just to care for this sweet baby the best way I can. Even after all this time, even after several placements, foster care continues to be the most difficult, most complicated, most rewarding thing we’ve ever done.

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