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Foster Parenting - Saying Goodbye

Updated on April 1, 2014

Saying Goodbye

When the time comes to say goodbye to your foster child, it is always hard. Every experience is unique and each situation is different, but saying goodbye is never easy.

There can be mixed emotions of many kinds. You might celebrate with the child that is returning to a home where things are now stable and safe. The situation that brought this child in to care has changed for the better and it is time for the youngster to return home. Things have gone well and you do all you can to make it a smooth transition for the child.

At times and for one reason or another, the foster child may be moved to another foster home or to a group home. This can come about as a result of a number of situations. It may be that the child is joining siblings at another foster home. Perhaps they are going in to kinship care, which is that of being cared for by a relative. It could be that their mom just gave birth to another child and the worker has found a placement so both children could remain together.

There are other factors that could play a part in a child being moved from your home. This may be at your request or the caseworker’s wishes. If you are ill and unable to care for the child any longer, it is in the best interest of all concerned that the child be moved.

Some times you will be aware of the move weeks in advance. Other times, changes could occur abruptly. You have grown to love this child and they have become a part of your every day life. Others in your home will also be impacted by the change.

You may or may not still be in contact with the child. Situations vary.

Try to prepare your foster child for the move as much as possible. Answer any questions honestly that he or she may have. It is bound to be a confusing time for them and will take a while for them to adjust as well. An infant will not know they are leaving, but will sense when the schedule, etc. is no longer the same.

If possible, find out as much about the anticipated move as possible from the caseworker. If you are able to communicate with the new foster parents or biological parents, explain what the child’s daily routine has been like.

With older children, I’d advise that you send a few photos of your family to them as a keepsake. You may also want to write a note or letter to them, which can be kept in their memory box.


Moving on
Moving on

You have been an important part of the child’s life, just as they have been equally important in your life.  Enjoy the time you have with them. 

When it comes time to say goodbye, you will be able to wish him or her all the best.  You have made a difference in their life, having been there at a traumatic time for them. 

We all have goodbyes to face in life.  This will not change.  Treasure the children that are in your care right now.  You never know when it will be time to say goodbye. 




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    • westernangel profile image

      westernangel 4 years ago from Canada


      I'm glad your daughter is able to return to you. I'm sorry for the comments that your daughter says the foster family is making about you. It's really nice that you want to continue to have them in your life. Things will get better soon, you will see. Hang in there.

      Best wishes always, Angela

    • profile image

      christy 4 years ago

      my daugther was in froster care for 18 mths i was going down the wrong road when dss took her from me long story but i was happpy that she was tooken from me i have made so many changes in my life and i am once in my life i am happy i just got cusdty back but my 3 year daugther is having a hard time she was doing really well the frist 4 weekend visits but the last 3 have been very upsetting she says things like my other mommy says she doesn't like you and that i was ruing her life and some other things i do really love the froster famliy and they have been here for me but now my daugther is comeing home there not being nice they are very mad and not surporting they don't talk to me when they come on sunday to pick her up this week is last week on the 5th is when she comes for good i don't know what to say to the forster parents to make them feel better i said thanks i have told them i wanted them in her life

    • westernangel profile image

      westernangel 4 years ago from Canada

      Thanks Pamela....since the time I wrote this hub, similar things have happened, us and to others. I guess that, my dear, will have to be another hub. Thanks for your comments

    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona

      Beautiful sentiments -- and so sad to imagine.

      Voting up, beautiful and sharing.

    • westernangel profile image

      westernangel 5 years ago from Canada

      You are so right ChelseaDawn. We recently experienced that when some of our foster children left our home. Our young daughter especially misses them terribly and finds it hard to understand why they don't live here anymore.

    • ChelseaDawn profile image

      ChelseaDawn 6 years ago from Augusta, Georgia

      Every time one of my parents' foster kids has to leave, it breaks our entire family's hearts! It's so hard to not become attached! These kids become family, and like you said, any moment, that can be gone! All you can do is enjoy your time with them, and then send them on their way with kind words and a hug when the time comes.

    • westernangel profile image

      westernangel 8 years ago from Canada

      Thanks Ladybird. Yes it is hard, but the rewards these children bring to our lives are a real blessing

    • Ladybird33 profile image

      Ladybird33 8 years ago from Fabulous USA

      Wow, very thoughtful...I am sure it is hard. You do a wonderful thing with these children. Many blessings to you.