It has been one month since we said goodbye to E and I thought now would be a good time to share some of my reflections after our first placement. While there is still a bit of sadness when I think about her — simply just missing her — I feel like I’ve had a lot of closure and things aren’t as raw as they were right after she left. It has been extremely healing to process our experience on my own, with my counselor, with our caseworker, and with several close friends.
Will we foster again?
Yes, without a shadow of a doubt! Our first experience has made us so much more passionate about being involved in foster care than we already were. These kids go through SO MUCH and zero percent of it is their fault. They are beautiful and innocent. The bare minimum of what they deserve is unconditional love as they go through it all. If we can sign up to be that love … those smiles and hugs … count us in.
For the time being, however, we are on “hold” for accepting another placement. We are going to wait until after the baby comes and actually, until after next wedding season. Our 2021 season is going to be busier than we could have ever imagined and it doesn’t seem wise to accept a new placement amidst our crazy work hours and having a newborn of our own.
What was the hardest part?
The hardest part was, BY FAR, saying goodbye. You can be as intellectually prepared as possible for that day but when it comes, you simply don’t know the feelings you are going to experience until you … experience them. It is a major loss and grief comes with loss. We went from being with her 24/7 to all of a sudden, one day, never seeing her again. The suddenness of this is very unnatural. You lose someone you love in a moment and as those who have experienced this kind of thing know, that is crushingly difficult.
I also think COVID really amplified this piece of the journey for us this time around. Due to quarantine, we had literally been with E all day, every day. There were only a few occasions, that I can count on one hand, in which we had friends babysit her because we had to shoot a wedding. Additionally, when a child is getting ready to go be with family (which was E’s case), there is generally a transition period in which they will do visits for an hour, a day, a weekend, etc. in the month or two leading up to their departure. With COVID, these visits were not possible so everything was even that much more abrupt.
What was the best part?
Getting to meet E and watch her grow : ) She changed SO MUCH while we had her! It was very rewarding to watch her develop, build trust with us and others, and really come out of her shell. She will forever be a part of our family … a word that now has such a new and deeper meaning for us.
What is our biggest takeaway?
To really be a good foster parent, you need to support your child(ren) being reunified with their parents *if that is the plan. This is always the number one goal, unless there are clear reasons why a child can no longer be cared for by their parent or their parent terminates their parental rights. *I will say, this is a very sensitive subject and cannot be applied across the board; I very much recognize that.
Advocating for reunification is not always easy to do. Things are VERY grey and complicated (this is a general statement based on all the foster cases I am personally aware of). But it IS best for a child to be with their parents, pending it is a safe situation. All the research points to this. What I “define” as safe might not be what someone else “defines” as safe but it is important to remember I am not a savior. We are all humans, learning and growing, making really poor decisions and making really great ones too. It is crucial to check my motives and my heart … constantly.
My closure comes in knowing that we did what we were called to do and E is now where she is supposed to be. I am so thankful for the time we had with her and for the many, many ways she has forever impacted us.
I always love knowing what questions, comments or thoughts readers have about foster care — so please share below if there is something you’re wondering about or something you would like me to talk more about!