Bug and Buddy will be moving on early next week. We've been talking about it for a few week, but it always catches me by surprise when it really comes. My foster parent heart goes through many thoughts and processes.
Excited and hopeful that reunification will work. One of the main reasons I got into foster parenting was to see families "make it," work through their stuff and get the kids back. I love to see kids back with their Moms and Dads, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins. As it should be if at all possible. I am praying that Bug and Buddy's parents will be able to make it work for the long run! As much as I love these two kids, I don't want them to live here again. I want them to be home with their parents. That being said, if the phone rings saying they can't stay with Mom and Dad, I pray there is an open spot in my home because there will always be one in my heart.
Nervous it won't. Yes, the very next feeling is, what if it doesn't work? Sometimes it doesn't. I can't dwell on that now - hoping and praying that it does. Pray with me if you think of it. Bug and Buddy deserve to have the world and that world includes their parents.
Success, the kids are doing so well. Buddy's teachers continually comment on the change they have seen in him since he came to live with me. He is thriving. He is learning, growing and still has that sensitive spirit intact. Bug is so stinking smart, learning more everyday and is just the sweetest little thing. Both of them say on a regular basis how much they love me, how much they love living with me. Bug just said the other day, “I can do is love you, that’s my favorite thing. I like loving you.”
Failure, so much that we're currently working on will just be sidelined. All of the projects and issues we're working through stop. Pre-school. Soccer. Swimming. I don't know if they will stop for the kids, but they will stop for me. Hopefully the kids will still continue being pushed further, to move past those things that are weighing them down, but that is no longer my concern. A fellow foster parent posted the other day of a new way to picture foster care using the imagery of a relay team. The child is the baton and the racers are the various people called to care for them. When its time to "pass the baton" to the next runner, the previous one has to let go or it hinders the next racer and ultimately hinders the race itself. So I release and cheer for the rest of the racers.
Sadness. I will just miss them. No matter what, there is no getting around this. But, it is one of those emotions that will just have to wait. It will come and I will grieve, but today there is just too much going on.
False sense of having Baby Girl with me forever shattered. In all likely-hood she'll be leaving too. Most children do end up going with family members or back with Mom and Dad. In fact the national stats are about 78%. Baby Girl isn't leaving now (that I know of) but the reminder is right in front of me today.
And there is just so much to physically do, that it makes all the processes fall to the back, to be processed once they have moved in.
Finish lifebooks. All long term kids I have had have left with a book about their time with me and whatever I know about their family. The majority of my kids have moved into adoptive homes, so this piece of their past is all the more important, but for those going home I still think it is a valuable thing. When I turned 28, I entered a season of wanting to understand my past, so I went through and catalogued my memories, photos and stories collected from family members. Why wouldn't foster kids go though the same process when they reach adulthood. So I still do a book, but I am sure to remove all the sections about "birth" family, as they are returning to their family.
Gather photos. Print photos from the past 7 months for the kids to keep. I just like photos. So I do at least a page or two from each month kids are with me and include any big events or memories. Then I put all the rest of the photos (I take a lot!) and videos on a disk for the kids to keep.
Plan a last minute goodbye party. Every long term kid deserves a time to be honored and loved before moving on. It gives my family and friends a chance to tell the kids that they are important no matter where they live. I also am always sure to have paper available if anyone wants to write a note/letter to the kids to put in their special (life) books. And the last minute part - my family is just getting used to this, I think. :)
Sort through and pack up all clothes, toys, art supplies, books, bikes, helmets and everything else you acquire in 7 months, 80 or so visits, 1 Christmas and 1 birthday. Separating lives that have been lived together. There is so much stuff and it is all mixed in with everything else. I have a general stash of all of these that I want to keep for future kids and everything else needs to be packed up with the kids. All the clothes bought and given to them, packed. All the art projects, packed. Oh man, I am stressed out just thinking about it.
I will get to it all. Help pray us through - it will be a long weekend.