Friday, August 31, 2012

Fostering - Saying Goodbye

The number one question people ask us when we talk about fostering is "But won't you be sad if/when they go back?". Possibly having feelings of sadness in the future is NO reason not to do something, but many people do not even consider fostering because it would be "too sad to let them go".

Foster children are not your own in the first place. You are basically a nanny 24/7 for these children until another solution has been made for them. Sometimes, that is adoption, but often times, it's a new placement with a family member. The goal of fostering is always to re-unite, so in a way, it's foolish to think you could keep them unless it absolutely begins to go that way.

In this particular case, the girls are leaving today to live with their aunt. She moved to the area from out of state to be part of this process and I believe it can be a very good thing. She has experience with adult autism which will be incredibly useful with the oldest sister. She's passionate about children and cares very much about what happens to this family. She is invested emotionally but will also gain similar training to what we did through STARS. I have no doubt she will be a wonderful caregiver to the girls.

So, how do we feel about the girls leaving? Equals parts sadness and relief. We have become one big crazy happy family, but it's not without a TON of work each and every second of every day. Dan is back in school now and we know for a fact that four children 4 and under is just a bit too hard for us right now. We were dedicated to seeing this placement through to the end, but we are grateful that the timing worked out when it did. As well, we always knew from the beginning that this particular placement would never turn into an adoption.

Baby sister was 6 months old when she came to us. She was skinny and couldn't really move around. Now, she's 8 months old, rolls like a puppy and can sit on her own. Oh, and she has rolls like a puppy, too! Big sister was skiddish at first, never making eye contact, running through the house and screaming if we tried to touch her. Now, she happily bathes, eats well and plays games with us. She sleeps in her own bed and mostly walks throughout the house (she and Lazzy love to chase each other around!). We taught her a few words and baby sign language to help keep screaming to a minimum. I cannot believe the progress they have made in such short time!
{we're gonna miss those toes!!}

The bio mom has offered to continue communication and wants us to keep in touch with the girls. I'm sending them off with photos of their time with us. I am anxious to keep up with them and see where they are in two years. They have grown so much over the last 8 weeks and I know with even more love and gentle care (and therapy!), they will be thriving in no time.

This was only the beginning. We learned incredible things about each other, our weaknesses, our children's ability to love and share our home and SO much more. It was challenging for sure, but in all the good ways. Dan and I will take a break for the month of September while we get used to our new routine, travel a bit and regroup as a family. Come October, we are excited to take another placement, only this time, ONE child please. We certainly survived with two, but I don't know if we have the time and emotional capacity to learn two little people all over again during such a busy season.

1 comment:

  1. Well done in doing so well with this first encounter! First is always the worse: having done this one so well, the others will almost certainly be a little easier to contemplate and follow through!

    Keep up the good work!