Handling Loss

Submitted by PeterAKenny on November 3, 2020
“After spending almost two years with us, our five-year-old foster son was removed to live with his grandparents in Illinois. Prior to that, he had been with them for less than a week of visitation. We had come to love our son and hoped to adopt. Now we are devastated. We don’t know whether to fight or cry.” You are angry and you are sad. The first step is to accept and give vent to your feelings. Remember why you became a foster parent in the first place. I wouldn’t give a nickel for foster parents who didn’t care deeply about the children in their care. Your only real mistake would be to deny your feelings. The second step is to figure out what to do. Each loss of a foster child is different, with unique circumstances. You can fight now. You can try to remain in the mix. Or you can move on. Whatever your choice, please keep foremost the best interests of your child. If you decide to fight the removal, consult an attorney knowledgeable about such sudden transitions. Was the removal by DCS action or by court decision? In either case, an attorney can advise you how best to proceed. Your child has almost certainly bonded to you and that should be a key issue. If you choose to accept the removal but wish to remain in touch with your child, you need to work with his new family. How far away are they? Perhaps you can offer respite care. Become an honorary aunt or uncle. Help in other ways. Who knows what may lie ahead? Or you may decide reluctantly that it is in everyone’s best interest at this time to have no further contact. Take time to mourn what you have lost and move on to foster and love other children. That may be very difficult for you and your child to do, but depending on the situation, it may be best for both.

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