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I Would Get Too Attached

Every foster parent has heard this. It seems to be the default reaction from other parents when we explain what we do.

“I don’t think I could do that. I would get too attached.”

Usually my answer is, “There is no way not to get attached.” 

If I ever have the time, courage, (cockiness?) and eloquence for a long answer, here’s what I would say:

You’re right, you can’t do this; I can’t do this either.
God asked us to do something really, really hard.
It sucks.
But it’s worth it.
Because it’s not for our benefit.
It’s for them.
And for Him; for His glory.

I never intended to or attempted to not get attached.
These kids don’t need babysitters; they needs parents. Parents don’t hold back love for their children.
Yes, it will break our hearts.
We are aware of the risks God has asked us to take in this journey.
We’re willing to suffer for the sake of these little ones. For His sake.

Easier said than done.

If people were honest, instead of  “I would get too attached” they would just come right out and say: “I don’t want to suffer because of someone else’s mistakes.” Believe me, I fully understand. I am selfish, too. Maybe I should just say that next time.

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8 Responses to I Would Get Too Attached

  1. K says:

    Sometimes I respond with, “Yes, you do get attached. That is the point.” But I’m a bit snarky like that.

  2. Julia says:

    When I discuss with family members the possibility of adopting I often hear “well, just know it will be difficult” and I’m thinking Duh, most things in life are! I think we naturally try to avoid extra suffering or difficulty, our pastor challenges us to do hard things and that definitely helps. But most people don’t hear that.

  3. Megan says:

    I don’t think it has anything to do with selfishness or not “wanting” to suffer. God has given us all gifts. For some it’s the ability to run back into the burning building and save life after life before losing their own, for others it’s the ability to create really great baked goods and share them with the world, and for a select few it’s the ability to foster a child. When someone says, “I would get too attached” they are saying “God hasn’t blessed me with the ability to fiercely love a child and then let them go when the time comes. That is not where my talents lie. Have a cupcake.”

    • K says:

      I appreciate your thoughts. It is true – foster care is not for everyone. But it should be considered by far, far more Christians than those who are actually pursuing it. There are a half–million kids in foster care and 130,000 waiting for an adoptive home. According to James 1:27 and the number of Christians in this country, that should not be. Often when people say, “I would get too attached” it is truly the sentiment that closes them off from ever considering foster care (I speak that from experience – it was how I felt before we started as well). Also, the statement, “I would get too attached” assumes that foster parents have some ability to detach or not attach to kids. The mark of a truly good foster parent is that they get attached. Really, really attached. Some would say “too attached”. It is as hurtful as saying, “I just love too much and you must not.”

      Sometimes God is calling us to something and we just don’t want to hear it. Sometimes God gives us a gift and we just don’t want to use it because we are uncomfortable. When we were praying over foster care, I could not help but think of the story of Jonah all the time. I think Martina is right – “I would get too attached” is often a selfish excuse. Being a foster parent does not excuse you from these fleshly struggles (as Martina pointed out) but this particular statement can be a really hard one for us to hear.

  4. Annie says:

    I just responded to a yahoo answer about this same topic. I am glad you are back so you can keep me in line about feeling sorry for myself. hahah

  5. Brian says:

    Psalm 56:8
    Thou hast taken account of my wanderings; put my tears in Thy bottle; are they not in Thy book? NASB

    Why would you want your tears stored up with God? You see, one day those tears are going to look very different to you than the way you see them now. Now you see them as suffering, now you see them as a cause for wondering, What’s gone wrong? But, you see, in this life we only see the reverse side of the tapestry. We see colors that don’t seem to blend and patterns that don’t make much sense. But, remember, in eternity we’ll see the tapestry the right way up and things that made no sense and caused us to wonder if God really knew what He was doing will work out into a most beautiful pattern that will give us joy throughout eternity.

    So, remember, when you are suffering for righteousness’ sake and maybe shedding bitter tears, don’t turn away from God, don’t give up hope, just do as the psalmist did. Cry out to God, “Put my tears in Thy bottle.” – Derek Prince

  6. Jason Ahlbrandt says:

    This is Jason. The husband of this great blogger! I don’t often chime in, but today I must. To Megan, I respectfully disagree with your comment. I’m going to assume you are a fellow follower of Jesus, and that we read the same scripture. With that, we all know that there are certain gifts, talents, and spiritual gifts given to people. They are given as God the Creator sees fit. However, love is not a gift or a talent. It is a commandment. Taking care of orphans in their distress is not a gift or a talent. It is what was called “true religion.” I think we can easily figure out the implication there. Now, I do not believe that means everyone is made to run an orphanage in another country, adopt, foster, etc. May I submit that the options in which God gives us to serve, are contained within the commands. But an option to love and serve, there is not. Regardless of what you are called to specifically, each act of love and service requires commitment, sacrifice, some pain, and most importantly, the death of self! If it is not these things, it is not love.
    I don’t know a lot, but I do know people! People may seem simple, but they are not. The responses my wife refers to are not responses that lie in the simplicity of “that’s just not my calling.” Rather, they are responses as a result of a convicted spirit. How do I know this? Because in other important areas of life not related to this one, I do it, my friends do it, and my family does it. I want to point out though, that this is not a pat on my back or my wife’s. And I don’t believe everyone is set up to foster kids. What I do believe when someone responds this way is that they are really asking a question to themselves. That question is one I believe we should continually ask ourselves as Christians. Am I like Jesus? Have I died to self? Am I decreasing, and is HE increasing?

  7. wendy says:

    hello, I have been following your story and praying for you. I also wanted to point out another aspect of caring for the poor, orphans, disadvantaged…and that is giving money. for some, this will be in addition to the work they are doing with children in the foster care system, at-risk youth, the hungry…while for some giving truly may be the only option as they may still be single, or military and moving around every couple of years, or perhaps still healing from their own broken experiences as children and awaiting wholeness and calling…so in the meantime, while unable to foster, can be giving. where we spend our money indicates where our treasure lies. giving to organizations or even individual families who are involved in this work is so important. it’s where God’s heart is and so should be ours.

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