The Call ministry

Meeting a foster child’s needs: Love

So many times we hear people say, “I couldn’t foster because I’d get too attached.” Our gut response is to tell you that’s a good thing because that’s what they need. Many times these statements get heard, but not understood.

Every child needs to know that someone loves them so much that they would hurt if that child wasn’t around. Sadly, some of these children come into foster care thinking no one loves them or that they’re unworthy.

The #1 priority of The CALL is to work towards making sure all foster children’s needs are met. When we post a need, many people are responsive. We find clothes, toys, and other items in our drop box weekly. Sunday School classes and families are collecting diapers and pajamas for these children. We’re meeting their physical needs, but we can’t forget their developmental and emotional needs.

Here’s an example of the importance of love and attachment. We share this with prospective families during their PRIDE training so this may be review for some.

Belinda was born to a young married couple. They have had problems in the marriage and were not planning on a baby. They have little support from their families, but they were also eager  for their baby’s arrival.

Like all newborn babies, she is completely dependent on her caregivers for all of her physical needs. Because of that dependency, by nature she will develop an attachment to her caregivers if her needs are minimally met.

Now imagine that you’re Belinda:

Belinda, you are hungry, but your parents are overwhelmed with the responsibilities of caring for a baby. In fact, your parents have begun to smoke marijuana, which has helped them relax in the past. You are ready to eat and are feeling tension and discomfort associated with being hungry. You cry but no one responds. You cry harder until your mother finally comes. She feeds you but doesn’t seem to pay attention. You cry and stiffen and have trouble eating, but you do get some of your formula down.

 

You are growing and you learn to crawl. Belinda, your mother is leaving you with a neighbor who often leaves you alone in the playpen. at home you are beginning to move around, but your parents don’t always watch you. You once pulled a cup of coffee down from the table. It burned you and resulted in an emergency room visit. The social worker in the hospital realized that your mother was intoxicated, and made a referral to Child Protective Services. Because the incident was an accident, the case wasn’t opened, but your mother’s name is on file.

Belinda, your dad is now caring for you during the day because he lost his job. He drinks beer and is not very interested in what you do. Like your babysitter, he manages you during the day by keeping you in your playpen in another room. When you cry he yells and calls you names. On a couple of occasions he pushed you down into the playpen. You often play alone and try not to bother anyone.

Belinda, you are two years old. When you’re with your mother she is frequently preoccupied. Sometimes you get whacked and sent to your room. Other times you’re completely ignored. You got into a fight with another child and your mom let you fight until you both got hurt. Once while your mother was sleeping you walked out of the house and were found alone one the street. Child Protective Services were called and they began an investigation.

Your life is continuing to deteriorate. Your parents fight a lot. You are becoming more aggressive and frequently have temper tantrums. Finally, your dad picks you up by your arm and dislocates your shoulder and gives you a bloody nose. Your mother takes you to the emergency room again. Child Protective Services takes emergency custody and makes plans to place you in a foster home.

Belinda will have a hard time trusting adults to meet her needs because her experiences have taught her that adults can’t be trusted. Her physical and cognitive development will be delayed because of how she was treated and neglected.

Children need love and attention to grow into well-adjusted adults. Most children in foster care are starving for love and attention.

Have you ever considered helping meet this need?

If you’re interested in fostering, check out our calendar page and find out when our next informational meeting is or message us on Facebook for more details.

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