When Notice Comes Due: Grief and Loss with Foster Care

baby_FotorOctober 1st of last year, we took in a 4lb 2oz foster baby girl. She was the tiniest little thing. She was a preemie -about 6 weeks early. She grabbed our hearts and off we went to be her foster parents. Length of time unknown. Or as my daughter would say: till further notice.

For months we grew this baby girl. Night time we got up and feed her every 2 hours-then 3. Slowly she grew. Her plan for her future went in many different ways. That’s her story. But if nothing worked out in the end: we were prepared to adopted her-giving her the continued stability she already had with us. This sat in the back of our minds as everyone fell more in love with her.

Foster to adopt. The children we foster-if they come up for adoption we have the first choice of adopting if we we feel this is what is best for all in our family. This concept helps keep children in stable loving homes longer if possible. We have our three beautiful children through this way. While we don’t set out looking to adopt-God places them in our lives.

We have had foster children come into our home that didn’t stay. We have said goodbye to many. It doesn’t get easier.

This one was the hardest goodbye. The abruptness of it threw us. Yet we know in foster care, children can be moved just like that. We had little time to prepare ourselves. We found out at 2pm in court that the next morning our sweet foster baby was moving home, just about a year after moving in with us.

And just like that our family was broken. The kids cried. We cried. We held her, loved her, spoiled her, kissed her. We treasured every moment with her.

‘Till she was no longer ours.

My heart ached.

I was just sad.

I became numb.

It was like our world stopped.

Then I saw the words “God is Good all the time” and thought -yes. He is. Even in my sorrow I have to find goodness. I have to my strength in Him.

So we stayed busy. I read scripture and sang. I prayed-even when I had no words. God has a plan- I just have to wait and see. I called on trusted friends to help in my sadness.

Soon there was laughter. My kids were looking at pictures -smiling. We found that we had to trust that God was looking out for our sweet Squeakers, and that there were other children who needed us to help them along their way.

Foster Care comes with sorrow not only for the foster children, but for the foster families also.  When I teach perspective families, we teach them to treat the foster child like their own.  So many of us do.  And when they leave it is almost like a death.  We grieve.  Yet knowing these children are still out there.  Sometimes some foster families have the benefit to build relationship with the birth families-we did not have that benefit in terms of reunification. Grief and loss with foster care comes in many different forms and knowing that they are there will help foster families understand what it going on after the loss of a foster child.

God is Good all the time.  Two weeks later we had a vacation planned.   A Disney Cruise.  We as a family needed that time to be away to heal, to relax, to unwind.  It was just the timing.  And as a family we would every now and then bring up our Squeakers, and a tear would flow.  It is part of the healing process.

Do I wish she would just come back.  Of course.  Do I pray that her family situation will be stable and healthy for her.  Yes.  Do we continue on the road with foster care? Absolutely.  Our journey is already continuing.


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