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A Sign from Little Miss Awesomesauce: Attachment in Foster Care

Signs arrive when we most need them.

By: Courtney Edge-Mattos

The goodbye was a hard one.  As soon as the kids learned that they were going to live with their relatives, behaviors that had long since stopped began cropping up again.  The cuddly children who once snuggled in for stories and movies, who danced in the living room to music, who were joyful turned angry and closed off.  Hurtful words were flung about, tantrums were common, and fists were even raised at Mama T.  “You’re not our family, I can’t WAIT to leave here!” shouted Little Miss Awesomesauce, a sparkling little girl who had been part of Mama T’s home and heart for nearly three years.  Had that time meant anything?  Had she helped them at all?

Mama T packed their things on a hot summer day.  She loaded it all into the social worker’s car and waved through tears as they disappeared.  There was no way of knowing how it would go, but she hoped that the children would grow roots, stabilize, and do well with their family.  She prayed they would keep in touch, that they would remember her as more than just a placeholder in their lives.  But silence fell and the calendar pages turned, no updates or contact.

Some days, when parents feel most defeated, a sign flickers out in the dark to remind them of why they do that they do, why they put their hearts through the goodbyes.

Mama T’s sign arrived when she got home from a class on attachment, a class during which she recounted the painful memory of Little Miss Awesomesauce’s goodbye and the difficult weeks that led up to it.

The sign was waiting for her on a hot summer day.  The letter was in the mailbox.  Printed letters carefully spelled out her name and address, letters they had practiced for hours, first tracing over printed words, then using large lined paper with dashes across the center of each line before she was ready for regular wide-ruled notebook paper.  Mama T held the envelope in her hand, emotion closing her throat.  

“Dear Mama T,

I miss you so much and everyone else in my life with you, too.  You all feel like family to me.  We had lots of time together.  Maybe you can take pictures of everyone for me so I can see how you looked when I lived with you.

I always loved you.  The day I left I thought “Do I want to go live with my grandparents or do I want to live with Mama T just a little bit more?”  I wasn’t ready to go and just have a normal life, I wanted more time with you, but its okay, I can still call or text or write letters.  Can you please write me letters?

Love,

Little Miss Awesomesauce

You are The BEST Foster Mom Ever!!!

 

To all of our awesomesauce kiddos out there, thank you for letting us see your heart and for trusting us.  For Little Miss Awesomesauce, your self-awareness and willingness to share are inspiring.  You are a brave girl and always have been.

To Mama T and every foster parent, thank you for giving your hearts.  You matter.

If you are ready to open your home and heart, even if it means goodbyes, please reach out.  Someone needs you.

#fosterhopefostercare #jrifostercare #healinghappens

@JRISocialJstce

JRI/COVID-19 Navigator

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Rachel has been a part of the JRI team since January, 2000. For over 20 years, Rachel has been working in the field of human services assisting families with accessing and navigating services. Rachel received her Bachelors degree in psychology and Masters Degree in Public Administration from Bridgewater State University. She was promoted in July 2005 to Family Networks Program Director where she closely worked with the Department of Children Families for 10 years ensuring that children and families received the highest quality of individualized services ranging from community based through residential care. Rachel is very dedicated to helping the individuals she works with and is committed to improving the lives of children and families. Rachel’s passion for creative service programming inspires her in her role as JRI Service Navigator.