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Foster Parenting - 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.
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.