Archive for April, 2011
A reader named Kelltic asked me in a comment recently whether ALL foster homes should be willing to adopt, because moving from a foster home to an adoptive home might be damaging to the foster child, particularly with regards to attachment issues?
I thought it was an interesting question and after thinking about it, my response turned out longer than expected, because I have two separate thoughts.. one from a practical point of view and one from an emotional, child point of view. Unfortunately, they are different points of view, so I am not sure the issue is resolved….
A. From an emotional, child’s point of view…
The IDEAL answer would be “YES.”
When I was taken into foster care, my first placement was a temporary placement because I was injured and was medically special needs. I stayed with a nurse, named Ms. Liz.. I was told straight out that I would only be staying with her until I was better. Even though I was little, I understood that I was just there to “get better.” Once I was moved from that temp home, I stayed in a placement that would have been perfect (Sara and Bill HERE)… but they did not adopt me. I was never told anything about how long I would stay. I was just “going to my new foster family.” After that I moved and moved and moved. And in most cases, I was never told how long I would be staying or given the faintest idea of whether it would be days, a week, a month, a year or ?????
How can you learn to attach and trust if you have no idea when “your time is up?” You see, you live your life waiting … and waiting… to move or to stay? How can you focus in school when you are wondering if you will be there for the test next week? How can you make friends, because you might move tomorrow? How can you trust anything because there is no stability?
Everytime I moved, even if it had nothing to do with me, I felt like it was “my fault” – “no-one wanted me again” – I was “unwanted, bad, gross.” You keep thinking “what did I do,” “what is wrong with ME,” “why doesn’t anyone want ME” … and those questions fester and grow. It is even worse if there are multiple foster children in a home and you are the only one removed. Every move takes a piece of your soul and throws it in the trash and at some point, you begin to be cold and dead inside. You give up believing in life.
And then…at some point, you don’t bother trying to attach or to care because you just know you are going to get moved. So you try to purposely fuck it up, so the FPs get rid of you. You act out worse or you act in more. You curse them out and never listen. You do everything they tell you not to do. You run away. You fight. You destroy stuff. You hurt yourself. You … don’t CONSCIOUSLY know you are doing it. You are a kid and you are surviving because the pain of being dumped again is horrible. You want to control it! And you do, because guess what — eventually the FPs get rid of you…and it proves your point… no-one wants you because you are bad.