When we first met our oldest foster son, he was currently placed in another foster home. We did what is called a transition. This transition consisted of meeting him and having him spend a couple hours at our home, then having him over for a longer period at our house, then spending the night once before us taking him into our home as a foster child. He was 17 months old at the time, and we didn't really notice any kind of problems relating to attachment. We seemed to bond well with him.
There wasn't any transition for our youngest foster son, as he was removed from his biological parent and placed directly with us. This little guy came with the clothes he had on, a half a package of diapers, some wipes and about 1/4 can of formula. We went to Wal-mart that night!
When my husband and I took our PRIDE training, there was a lot of discussion about the importance of attachment and attachment disorders. They really stress the importance of not having a child move from home to home to home because without attaching and bonding to a family that's where attachment disorders can start and become lifelong. All the training was focused on the actual child.
Right now paperwork is being processed for our littlest to go to family members. We have had this little guy in our home for four months. While our older daughters have helped to care for him, our nine year old has bonded with him as a brother would. He sings to him (don't tell him I told you!), plays with him, keeps him entertained when he's fussy.
Our two year old foster son has also formed an attachment to him. Even though they look nothing alike, I have been asked more than once if they are brothers. In a sense they are. They are the closest in age out of all the kids, they are together almost all of the time, and so they do things and go everywhere together. I see how our two year old has gone from "No, that's MY Mommy!" to sharing his toys and even kissing the litle guy. Just watching them together can bring tears to my eyes.
So now, with the possibility of our little one leaving us soon, I am wondering how it will affect our family. I know that I will be a blubbering mess, but even though I know this, I also know I will never be totally prepared for it. I am the parent and caregiver, and I will miss him terribly because we have bonded with him, as my children have.
How will my children be affected? My older ones get the concept. But our two year old? Even now when the baby goes for visits with his mom, our two year old asks "Where's the baby?" When we first left the baby with his mom for her visit, our 2yo cried. How will he do when this baby leaves our home for good? What will it do to him? And, since is not an attachment disorder, what do you call it? There needs to be a PRIDE training on that.
I have not had to experience the letting go of one of our foster children yet. As the time gets closer and closer, I am praying that I will handle it the best I can, and be there for my children. I will share their grief with them. I will share the good times, and the memories.
That, and chocolate.