Attachment in Traumatized Children, that is the name of the licensing class my husband and I took last night. It is one of about 14 classes we are taking to fulfill our required 41.5 hours of training. I know that the things we are learning are preparing us for properly caring for the future children who are placed in our home, but my husband and I couldn’t help but relate some of the information to how we are currently raising our own children. Have we been parenting them with enough grace? Have we been wrongly putting adult expectations onto them? Have we been listening to them enough? Do our children feel like we care about their needs?
Honestly, if we finish up training and come to the realization that foster care isn’t the right path for us at this time, we are going to at least come out of this better parents. In fact, my husband and I have wondered why classes like these aren’t offered to all new parents. I mean, many of us enter into parenthood simply winging it. We do what we believe is best. We read parenting books and take advice from family members and friends. But what if we had training that taught us how our little one’s brain develops? What if we learned from the start about the importance of attachment in young children? Would I have parented my children differently in their newborn stages had I sat through training like this years ago?
One of the home supervisors led our class last night. Since we had some extra time near the end of the class, she took a few minutes to briefly discuss the home study process. The home study isn’t only about checking our house to make sure it is safe, it also requires us to dive into our past, sharing intimate details about our lives from childhood to present-day. It gets deep and personal. Everything we disclose to our home supervisor will be used to write up a story of who we are as individuals, as a couple and as parents. I began to wonder if there would be things in my story that could disqualify me.
I also began to focus on the fact that I don’t always handle my emotions well. I don’t always remain calm when I should. Sometimes I get pretty emotional. Every once in a while, I yell, like crazy person yell. Some of you mommas know what I am talking about, right? After spending the last two hours of class learning how important it is to respond calmly to the behavior of a traumatized child, and after hearing about how important it is that I do not take the behaviors of future placements personally, I truly began doubting my abilities.
Am I actually the right person for this task? Can my husband and I handle this right now on top of our current commitments and busy schedules? Will we discover that we are too tired and too overwhelmed to have the grace, patience, and love all of the children in our home will need at all times?
And then came the biggest worry of all, what if I fail?
And just as quickly as the what if’s began to circulate in my mind, The Lord calmed my fears. He reminded me that I can do all things through Him. He will fill me with the grace and patience that I need. You see, it is the Lord who put this calling onto my heart and it is the Lord who will equip me. He will give me strength on the days that I feel weak. And He will use the love I have for the least of these to pour into the hearts of countless children. Because these little ones need to be nurtured. They need so desperately to form a healthy attachment with a caregiver. They need to learn that it is safe to trust.
They need to see HIM through the love we give.
And this, this is why my husband and I are doing this. Yes, there will be busy and hard days. Yes, there will be overwhelming moments, but none of that changes the fact that we have a lot of love to give, nor does it change the fact that He has commanded us to give it.