Friday, March 30, 2012

"Foster Friday" - After They Leave

It's been nine days since Monkey went to live with his daddy, and we are all doing our best to adjust to a new "normal."  So far, things are going really well!

I have to admit, I was kind of a wreck from the day that Monkey left until Sunday night.  I was so afraid that his dad was going to change his mind about me keeping him, and I just wouldn't ever see him again.  I can't tell you how relieved and happy I was when he showed up a half an hour earlier than I expected him on Sunday night!  :-)  Now that we have a week down, and a pretty good idea of how we're going to do this, I'm breathing much, much easier, and am finally able to start moving on with everything else in my life.

With Monkey's return home so new, it's made me think about how different my life is when my kiddos enter and leave.  It's always an adjustment for any foster family, but for me...  For me, the change between being "single, full-time working, foster mama" to "single lady with no kids and a cat" is a drastic one, especially after a long-term placement.  I think it would be different if I had a husband and/or other children at home who still needed me, but to go from having a child be my whole world to absolutely nothing...  Well, the silence can be deafening.  I was sort of wallowing in that silence until last Sunday night when Monkey came back.

Now that I know he's going to be with me half of the week, I'm finally allowing myself to get excited about other things and making plans.  I get to be Monkey's "Mama" from Sunday night through Thursday morning, and now I have the time to really spoil my other kiddos on the weekends!  We're starting up our "Saturday Crew" again tomorrow, and I know that Heaven, Booger, Banana, Buddy, and Ka-Diva are just as excited about that as I am.  :-)

No more wallowing in self-pity or crying in a silent house for me!  I'm taking a couple of months off from fostering to look for a three bedroom place so I have more room for more kids.  And in the meantime, I'm making the most of my "free" time by spoiling all of my other kids rotten!  Somehow, I don't think they'll object.  ;-)

So how do the rest of you cope after your children leave your home?  Do you do anything special?  How do you allow yourselves to grieve?  What helps you the most in dealing with the loss?

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

We are fixing to have our first 2 leave, they've been with us for 8 1/2 months...no idea what to expect. Happy for them, scared for them, scared for us!

Celticqueen said...

First of all, I have to say how lucky you are to still be a part of your former kids' lives. I have been a foster parent for 12 years and have had 18 kids in my home. I have been so lucky to adopt 3 of them! When some of the long term placements have gone home, I cried of course, but I usually take a little break from foster care for a while just to heal. But on one occasion, I suggested a break to my caseworker and she told me to wait and think about it.... a week later I got my little man (at 10days old) and adopted him 4 years later :0). I always try to keep and send along lots of pictures of my kiddo's time with me.
Best of luck to you in this, you do a great job!

Kylee said...

For several of our kids, my mom would always take the rest of us some place "special" when they left. We would go to a museum or the science place, or anywhere that might distract us from sitting and wallowing too much. There was still plenty of time for grief, but for a family with lots of bio kids, it helped for the couple of hours that the baby was first out of the home.

Mama P said...

I am like Kylee's mom. I would love to get in the bed and bawl my head off...but it's hard to when other children are in the home.

We usually do an overnight trip somewhere. When Squishy and Princess went home, we were already planning on leaving the next day on a Disney trip and to spend a weekend with Teddy and LittleStar.

If Peanut ever leaves us we'll have to go to Europe, lol.

When packing up their things, I always save the first outfit I placed on them myself, as well as whatever outfit was "theirs." (The one that I think of them in when I close my eyes, or what coordinated with their nickname, etc).

The thing that helps me the most in mourning the loss is allowing myself to truly mourn as if they are gone...because the child *I* knew as mine *IS* gone. *My* child just became someone else's child that I love.

I can't take breaks between children...Im usually chomping at the bit to move on. The longer it takes for a new placement, the more mopey I get, LOL.

Carrie said...

I can identify with your post since we do not have bio children. Going from being a mom to not being a mom was sooo hard for me. We did go away after our twins left and that was wonderful. Boy did I grieve (still do, but less intensely) as Mama P said, and would have definitely wanted a placement sooner than the four months that it took. However, that was the time that it took for the girls that the Lord brought us next to come into care :)

Karen said...

I'm so glad you posted this. We just found out the other day that my foster sister who has been with us since she came home from the hospital at 36 hours old (a little over 8 months ago), will probably be returning to her parents in a couple of weeks. All along CAS was going for adoption, so it is hard to adjust our thinking that going to her parents is best for her. I appreciate reading people's ideas because it will be so hard!

MamaFoster said...

I cry. I take my other kids out to do something fun to get our minds off of it. Then I cry some more.

CherubMamma said...

Every goodbye for me has been radically different. I was 8 months pregnant when I had to say goodbye the first time. I think the knowledge of that new baby is the only thing that kept me from totally losing my mind. I also stayed in contact with our little guy and even got to babysit him a couple times after he went home. That helped.

I had to force the goodbye once due to dangers in my home. There were many tears mixed with a huge sense of relief. Oh yeah - and tons of guilt.

I'm praying over a goodbye that I hope will be happening on Tuesday next week. My little Pumpkin deserves to get out of Care. She deserves a forever family in her aunt and uncle that want to raise her. I will be happy if the judge rules that Pumpkin can go. And I'll be honest - I'll be thrilled to be done with the kind of special needs parenting that Pumpkin requires.

Every single goodbye has been radically different for me. I guess I say we cope how we need to depending on the situation.

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