One of, if not the, biggest fear for those considering foster care is having to say goodbye. Understanding the fact that foster care is largely temporary is essential when deciding whether or not foster care is right for your family. Even those with the healthiest of grasps on this reality may find it difficult to traverse when the time comes to say goodbye to their foster child. While this is an important thing to consider when making your decision to foster, don’t let it intimidate you into passing on what may be the most rewarding experience of your life. Being prepared and informed will go a long way in helping you deal with difficult realities.
These Emotions are Manageable
When you tell people that you are thinking about becoming a foster parent, you will often hear; “Oh I could never do that…it would be too hard to say goodbye.” It’s a scary thing to consider. You fall in love with these children. When/if they have to leave, you can be sure it’s going to hurt. However, don’t underestimate your own ability to cope with hard emotions. Any seasoned foster family will tell you that the rewards of fostering far outweigh the pain of saying goodbye. Helping these children learn healthy attachment and what it feels like to be safe and loved has a huge impact on how some fosters kids live their lives. Focusing on the good you are doing and on being an effective and impactful foster parent will help when you are healing from the loss of a foster child.
Have a Solid Support System
Having a solid support system is crucial at all stages of fostering, particularly when you have to say goodbye. Other foster families will be a wealth of information and wisdom when it comes to your foster care experience. Having someone to call who knows first-hand what you are going through is monumentally valuable. Begin researching and getting involved in foster care groups near you, even before you get your first foster child. This can prove an irreplaceable positive resource for you in your journey through foster care.