Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Fostering and Saying Goodbye

Just like there are three distinct stages of adjustment with each new foster placement, I go through three more stages when we say goodbye. This week, baby J is left us to live with an aunt and we are truly happy for him. Still, it all happened very quickly (as in, 1 hour!) and there's an adjustment we all go through.

Dan and I react differently from the kids, who only go through one stage : sadness. After a foster child has left our home, the boys spend the following days talking about them and looking for them as if they are still here. It takes a while for them to get used to a smaller family. Elijah still talks about the 3 babies we've had, names them all and says "they are my favorite babies ever, mom!". It's so so sweet.

Like I said, it's a bit different for Dan and I. We seem to go through three distinct phases of adjustment.

1. Relief. 
In many ways, fostering is like a very long babysitting gig. If you've ever babysat, you know the feeling of relief that comes over you when you hear the parents coming through the door. Ahh! Time to go home to my quiet peaceful house. Well,  the first few nights after a foster child leaves, everyone sleeps deeply. We all relax a little and take a few days off to readjust as a family. The appointments and visits cease and it's simply a big relief.

2. Mourning.
After a few days, people begin to ask what happened since we no longer have an extra child with us. We spend the next few weeks updating everyone on the story and as we talk about our latest foster child, we miss them. It's been especially hard with baby J because we brought him home from the hospital. He was so teeny tiny. Besides the nurses, we were the only people who cared for him. What if the aunt doesn't know that he needs to burp when he throws his head back? I worry, but just have to pray for him and his future.

3. Excitement for the future.
There comes a time (usually a month later) when we begin to prepare for the next placement. We never know when we'll get the call but I begin to imagine who it will be. In this particular case, Dan and I are taking a longer break as our future is not quite certain. We just want to get through graduation (in May!!) and then go from there.

With the busy-ness of helping everyone else through change, I have to remember to give myself time to process. I am pretty task oriented and won't stop to think unless I make a point to do so. Yesterday and today have been set aside for just that. Especially before an incredibly busy weekend!!

1 comment:

  1. Baby J will never remember that you cared for him, but I am pretty sure that God will never forget. Thank you for taking seriously the call to care for the orphan and the widow. I hope we are brave enough to follow through with our plans to do the same one day.