All it took was a left-behind toothbrush to completely undo Rachel Hillestad.
Even though the child that she was fostering had only been with her family for two and a half weeks, she found herself sitting in a parking lot, sobbing over memories of the days she saw him smile and nights she witnessed him sleeping soundly instead of being freezing and in fear.
This child called Rachel "Mama," and she reassured him every time she left that she would come back. But when it was time for him to go to his new home, the transition was difficult for both foster mom and child.
As a foster parent, Rachel often hears the comment, "I could never do foster care, I would get attached." Instead of smiling or simply saying that it's all worth it, Rachel is sharing the honest truth about how though she gets attached as any other person would, the pain that comes with fostering a child will always be worth it.
My answer to those people who say that is this: I absolutely get attached. I wonder where they are now. They visit me in my dreams, and sometimes I wake up with a wet face. It hurts. Sometimes in those moments it hurts to breathe. You know what I know even MORE, though? I'd rather these sweet babies know my love than never know it. I would carry their hurt inside my own adult heart if it meant there was less in their tiny sad one.
There is absolutely no reason that an 8-year-old who watched his mother be murdered not know the love of a stranger. It's absolutely criminal that a two year old sit in a social worker's office for two days in dirty clothes because I'm afraid I'd get too attached. I got attached. Getting attached has been the greatest pleasure and honor of my entire life."