Part 2: Love Gets Too Attached
Here is Part 1: Love Gives if you haven’t read it yet.
Love gets too attached…because anything less is not true love.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” – Philippians 2:3-4
The top questions and comments I receive from others surround the idea of getting too attached and how it must be so difficult to let the children go when they have to leave. Yes, we do get too attached and yes, it is difficult to let them go. It has to be this way.
Selfishly protecting my heart at the expense of a traumatized child’s livelihood just doesn’t fly.
If my husband and I somehow could not take care of our children, we would want them to be loved completely by their caregivers. We would hope that the caregivers would give their hearts to them as they would to their own children so they could be the beneficiaries of all that comes with being loved deeply by a parent.
The Apostle Paul exhorts us to look to the interests of others. In foster care, we look to the interests of the children placed with us. They desperately need us to attach to them so they can heal. They need to feel loved and safe, to have someone reach out and embrace them despite their sharp edges.
I feel the safest with those who truly love me, those who know my strengths and weaknesses, those who don’t care nor pass judgment if I have no makeup on, look frumpy, am too blunt in my speech, or just don’t feel like talking. Those who reach out and ask how I’m really doing, invest time in me, who really listen and pray. And I get attached…I am attached…because I know I am safe. I can tell those loved ones anything and I know without a doubt they will still love me.
The One who loves me most is the One who gives life and hope to all. To be fully loved and fully known casts out all fear.
I am safe in the arms of Christ. Our babies are safe in our arms for as long as they are here.
Babies need to attach, plain and simple, otherwise they will not thrive. In order for them to feel safe, they need adults to meet their physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental needs. When they learn to attach, they will have the ability to attach again when they move to their permanent family.
Older children and teens need to attach so they can begin the healing process and learn to trust again.
“But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 3:23
God is so attached to us that even before we were able to love Him, He loved us first and sacrificed His Son.
That is why I, as a foster parent, have to love and attach first. If a new child who comes into my home, suddenly thrown into foster care, senses that I am only there to take care of her physical needs, she will never trust me nor feel safe. She will see me as an adult to help her, but not one who embraces her emotional need for love and healing. She is my daughter. She is my boys’ sister. She is not my foster daughter or their foster sister.
Think about it. Who do you open up to? With whom do you feel safe? To those who mostly talk about themselves and ignore you or to those who ask you questions, take care of you, and want to know more about you? Our kids, bio or foster, need to feel safe if they are to open up and begin to heal. They need us to extend our hearts, to teach and show them the love of Christ.
We have to set aside our fear of future hurt and broken hearts. Jesus will heal us, too. We can not only dip, but wade in the vast ocean of His love.
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!
’Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!