Foster Parenting - Saying Goodbye Again
I've said it before and I'll say it again, it never is easy to say goodbye to someone who has been a loved part of your life. No matter how many times you go through it, it doesn't get any easier. You can never truly prepare yourself for the time your foster child will have to go elsewhere. You can take all the workshops and training courses that are offered, but none will adequately prepare you.
Will you see them again?
Depending on the bond that has been formed, some goodbyes are harder than others. Some of the children that have come into your care may be staying close by. There could still be occasions whey you will interact with them. Your children may go to the same school with them or you may attend the same church. You could run into them at a neighborhood store or park.
The opposite could also occur. Maybe you will never see the child again. They will remain in your heart and the memories will live on forever, but the reality of it is that you may not ever have contact with them.
Sometimes the child will leave suddenly, without a lot of notice. Other times, you will have known for a long time when the child will be leaving your home.
One piece of advice I can give is to try your best to cherish every day with each foster child that comes in to your home. Take photos together for him to take with him when he leaves. Be sure to keep a few for yourself. If it is too hard to look at them, for you or others in your home, put them away for a while and bring them out when the time is right.
There may be times that you believed this would be your foster child's "forever home". Perhaps you had planned on adopting him or taking private guardianship. You may have not faced the fact that he could move on, either returning to his bio family or another scenario. He could be going to another foster home or to a group home.
It Takes Time
As difficult as it is for you, I believe it is much more dificult on the foster child that will be moving elsewhere and the other children in your home, bie it your biological kids or other foster children. Your whole family has been a "unit" for some time and the departure of one could have a devastating impact on some of the members in your home.
Even your birth or adopted child could develop fears that they too will be taken away. This is a natural response. Be patient, loving and understanding of them and of what they are going through. Reassure them that this won't happen to them. Seek help if needed, such as counselling for your child. It will take time, it is a form of grief and grieving has many stages and affects everyone differently.
Where do we go from here?
Some of your children may react by not mentioning the name of the child who has left. Some don't want to look at pictures of them, as it is too painful. Still, others seem to talk incessantly about the child and ask to see them over and over.
As you go through this situation, you will learn how to adapt. Take with you the wonderful memories and lessons you have learned. Think of it as an opportunity for a new direction. Who knows what lies just around the corner.
Concentrate on the positive. Life will and does go on.
- Foster Parenting - Saying Goodbye
This hub is about foster parents and the very difficult time they sometimes face when it's time to say good bye to a foster child.