Fostered Love, The Beginning

A Fostered Love
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The name Winnie immediately rang a bell for Howard, who had fostered a puppy by the same name almost a year prior.

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This immediately registered because last November, I fostered a dog for the first time over Thanksgiving. She was a soft wiggly baby puppy I named Winnie.

I cried for three days after she was spayed and went up for adoption, worrying about whether she had found a good home. It was beyond comforting for my first foster dog to turn up on my front lawn today, her fur still soft and her ear still crooked and her tail still wagging. Here she is in all her grown-up glory and I hope she warms your heart too! She even got to the adoption site early to make sure she was first in line to adopt Winnie. The bonding during the prenatal period happens for both the mother and the father.

We mentally prepare for their arrival. We talk to the baby, we feel him or her move. We plan for their future. We pick a name.

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He had never cared before, but right now, his insides cramped, making him feel sick with the thought that Christian would ever know how detached Jonah felt from everyone else in the world. Geographic isolation has somewhat fostered state industries. For the longest time, Jonah had been proud of one thing in his life, and that was making Marisol promise to help Christian forget about his little crush. If he confronts you in person, if there is someone with you, have them make a note of it too, as a witness. Independent reading time might end with a turn and talk where students partner up to share what they are reading and "what stood out for them.

They hear us, and they feel us too. He was only two weeks old, but we were foreign to him. He was foreign to us. After a few months had passed of caring for B, I noticed that we were struggling with intimacy and feelings of closeness to him. Our feelings of love, care, and sympathy were strong from day one.

Fostered Love, The Beginning

But intimacy is different. But that feeling of intimacy that tends to develop more naturally with your bio children, requires more time and effort with foster children. At the time, I thought to myself,. How naive of me to think that.

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While B has appropriately met all of his physical and cognitive milestones so far, he has shown certain behavior as an infant and toddler that appears different from when our biological children were that age. B demands a lot of attention, and his separation anxiety appears more heightened. It took us an entire year to sleep train him. Other factors such as drug exposure in the womb can cause mental, behavioral, and learning delays later in life that may not be noticed in the first few years of life. Research has also pointed to the biological effects of early trauma.

Fostering Journey

Neural development occurs most rapidly in early childhood and is shaped by experience. Prolonged stress can lead to increased arousal, elevated stress hormones, and biochemical alterations of emotion regulation circuits 3,4. In essence, early stress and trauma can alter the brain and have long-term effects across many domains, including physical, mental, and emotional development 3,4.

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Moreover, the impact of early maltreatment often extends into later childhood, adolescence, and even adulthood. I cannot say definitively if the behavior and actions that B exhibits are directly correlated to the trauma he experienced being separated from his bio parents and his difficult womb environment.

But, the research suggests that correlation is reasonable based on the behaviors he exhibits. Growing up, I admit that I lived in a bubble.

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I grew up in a typical upper-middle-class suburb in South Florida where a typical recreational activity was attending a polo match not joking. I sailed through a predominantly white public school system, and most of my friends were from similar backgrounds: upper-middle-class white families.

But, I still lived a fairly comfortable childhood. And now, I live in an upper-middle-class, predominantly white neighborhood in Orlando. The majority of my friends are white, and the church I attend is predominantly white. His mother may have made poor decisions while he was in the womb, but she made the wise decision to go to the hospital to deliver him in a safe place.

The first goal of fostering is reunification, two-thirds of foster children reunite with the biological parents or family members. When we talked with some of our friends and acquaintances, we heard a few common questions and statements such as:.

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This way of thinking is narrow-minded on our part. Children desire to be with their biological family members. And as long as the environment is healthy, they will thrive in those situations. Imagine if you had a temporary lapse in judgment, DCF took your kids away, and you felt like the courts were against you in reunifying with your children?

We should not dismiss these parents as a lost cause. If we want to make a difference, we need to financially support and volunteer in programs that help rehabilitate them. Lindzee and I were fortunate to have an atypical fostering experience. B also had no family members step up to petition for adoption. Most experiences are more frustrating, gut-wrenching, and emotional. Fostering and adopting is a paradox.