Are your foster children leaving? A guide on how to cope

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Regardless of where you are fostering children, from Nottingham to across the Midlands, providing a permanent home for children who need it the most can be challenging but very rewarding. Sometimes, however, the hardest thing that most foster parents have to deal with is when your foster placements come to an end and your foster children move on for a number of reasons.

These can include but are not limited to:

  • Returning back to their birth parents when allowed to do so
  • A longer term foster placements
  • Being adopted
  • If old enough, preparing for a life to live independently

When your foster children leave, it is a part of fostering that will dwell on your minds for quite some time and that’s okay. As part of your training, support and development, you will be advised on various coping mechanisms that will help to manage emotions and any other challenges, but sometimes, saying goodbye is always going to be hard, no matter what.

In this article, we’ve summarised a few points that can help you when you’re preparing for your foster children to leave.

mom hugged her daughter in the kitchen, both faces have an expression of quiet sadness or sadness

Try and prepare in advance

We often hear many foster carers saying they’re not sure whether they could foster knowing they had to let them go. This is understandable and we know what a big commitment is it to do so. It can be very difficult, there’s no question about it. As a foster parent, being aware of the emotional battles you may face from the off-set is one of the best things you can do and working with fostering agencies can help you. It’s always good to remind yourself that whatever the decision is, it’s best for your foster children and their future. By preparing from the start, you won’t feel as blind-sided when the times come to say goodbye.

Talk to your foster children

Even though you can prepare from the start, you won’t always be a position where you’ll get a lot of warning when it’s time for your foster children to move on. Sometimes, it can be as little as a couple of hours but in other cases it can be up to several weeks. Regardless of what the circumstance may be, you should spend your time speaking to your foster children; making them aware of change and see how they are emotionally.

In this process, don’t forget to speak about your emotions as well. It will be natural to feel upset but your foster children will also be feeling different types of emotions too. If you have small foster children, they may not even completely understand so it’s good to use things like calendars or counting metrics to count down when they may be leaving. Talking to them will be best for both you and your foster children and an even better opportunity to tell them how much they mean to you and what your time together meant. This will most definitely help them.

Cozy image of happy young mother with long blonde hair posing in kitchen with her adorable daughter, sitting at table, having tea and eating cake, looking at each other and smiling, talking

Make memories and let your foster children take sentimental gifts

Staying in touch with your foster children isn’t always an option. However, when you help them pack, you can send pictures and gifts with them to help them settle in their new environment. This is also really nice for them to look back and reflect on their time with you.

Before they leave, another nice gesture is to arrange a goodbye from people they have grown close to throughout your time together. This can be anything from meals with grandparents or calls with friends. If you want to create one last special memory within your own family, you could look at doing a fun activity together or having a big family sleepover if time allows you to.

Saying bye to your foster children with gifts

Don’t forget to look after yourself

This may seem odd at start but the news that your foster children are leaving can hit you and your family hard. Patience and self care is very important at this time to help ensure you are processing the news and are able to support your foster children during their move. This can be a good time to write in a journal or do your favourite things to ensure you are looking after yourself. Also speak to your family members if you have any to ensure that you are all there to support one another

Support is something that is given at Fostering Dimensions throughout your time as foster parents. To learn more about what other support and resources are available or even if you need someone to talk to, get in touch today.