Two of foster care placements were especially hard on our family. One was our first placement, a baby girl just two days old who was with our family for 5 ½ months. The other was our third placement and our longest to date at nine months. He was placed with us at 4 days old. He is going home today. To say that those wounds are fresh would be an understatement. Saying goodbye is not easy for me. Sure bonding comes with each child at their own time. One of my favorite posts is by Noisy. Colorful. Livel. “Attachment, where’s the Velcro when you need it.” With these little ones, the newborn babes, bonding is effortless for me. Give me a baby to hold in my arms and they are mine. Loved! Adored!
When we first started foster care we thought that adoption would come up at some point. That eventually we would adopt and we were happy when that day came. We had a young son in the home and weren’t too anxious to have any permanent newcomer. Oh, what a difference a day can make. From the moment these little ones were in our home I did not want to let them go. However, when you sign up as a foster parent, you sign up to support family reunification first. So of course that day came when I was forced to let go.
In the case of our first placement, Little Miss, she wasn’t returned home. Instead a local Native American tribe took jurisdiction on the case since her birth mother had enrolled with them just after giving birth. Under the ICWA laws I did not have first choice after family was ruled out because I do not have any considerable Native American history. Her loss was devastating to say the least. I remember crying my eyes out after she left. I also remember feeling completely normal and putting those feelings of grief aside. It wasn’t until later when another Native American little girl was placed with us that those feelings of loss crept up and overwhelmed me. It is completely normal to feel the different stages of loss. It is important to validate your feelings and talk about them.
Little Dude, who is the baby who is going home today, was placed with me the day after I found out I was losing Little Miss. In some ways I had hope that he was some blessing from on high. A way to make up for the loss of our sweet baby girl. His case has been up and down. There were times I was certain adoption would happen. I prayed it would. Hope kept being drawn-out as extensions in the case were granted. However, all concerns with his biological family were resolved and he was able to return to his father. I am still in shock. Letting go is not easy. But I do know that it is possible. That I can love again.
Foster parenting is incredibly rewarding and, honestly, I wouldn’t trade these experiences. I am growing so much as a person – and more importantly as a Mother.
You can read all about Foster Mama’s foster care and adoption adventures over at: Foster Mama & the kiddos. She and her husband have been foster parents for just over a year and in that time have had five placements. Sadly, they have said goodbye to four of them.