Like me, you might struggle when your children from foster care move from your home. There are times when the removal of a foster child from may come suddenly, and without any prior warning. You may only have a few days, or even a few hours, before your foster child is to move. This may be due to a court order, health reasons, or placement into another foster home. Other times, plenty of notice is given to the foster parents beforehand. Whenever you are told, there will sure to be emotions involved, for both you and the foster child.
I have watched over 45 children come to live with me and my family, and then move to other homes. Each time, my wife and I have grown to love these children, caring for them as if they were our very own, and treating them the same as all the others in our home; biological, adoptive, or foster. Each time a child leaves, my wife and I experience a great sense of loss, even when we can be comforted with the knowledge that the children have gone to a good and safe home. There have been times when my wife has sunk into deep grief, crying for days. We have both spent considerable time on our knees, lifting up a former foster child up in prayer. There have also been those times when we felt a small sense of relief when a child left our home. A few years back, we had a sibling group of three children in diapers, all with challenging behaviors and conditions. For those four months, we were run ragged, worn out, and tired. When the children left our home, to be returned to their mother, both my wife and I cried. At the same time, though, we felt that a burden had been lifted off of our shoulders, that we could breathe and relax a little, and focus on our own children some more.
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Saying goodbye is never easy for anyone, and may be especially difficult for you and your foster child. After your foster child leaves your home, you may feel like you never wish to foster again, as the pain is too great. The grief you feel may be overwhelming. Please remember this though, my friend; you are not alone. It is normal for foster parents to feel loss and grief each time a child leaves a home. Take time to grieve, and remind yourself that you are not in control of the situation. Find more tips on how to make this difficult time easier for both the child and your own family in my eBook When a Foster Child Leaves.
To be sure, it is hard being a foster parent. The grief when a child leaves can, at times, be over whelming and consuming. It is like losing a child, a member of your family. Yet, I don’t want you to give up when a child leaves, because your heart is heavy. There are other children out there, right now, who need a home and need a family. There is a child out there right now who needs you to love him.
-Dr. John DeGarmo
For more, purchase the eBook Foster Parenting 101: When a Foster Child Leaves. Click HERE to buy your copy.