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Saying Goodbye to Your Foster Child

Saying goodbye to your foster child is never easy.

And so ends another chapter. We’re 2 hours in to a 6-hour road trip with a 4 year old. H’s placement with his grandparents has been approved so we’re driving him up to Georgia this weekend. It is time to say goodbye.

We knew this was coming and we’ve been talking to H about it for about a month now. On Thursday, as he was leaving from speech therapy with Thomas, he turned to the teacher and said “goodbye! I’m going to see my MeMaw now!” Then this morning he gave Thomas a hug and said “I’m sorry I’m leaving. I think Sierra’s sad because she knows” and gave her a pat on the head.

On one hand, I don’t think he really understands. But then, I think I’m not giving him enough credit. I forget that although he is only four, he’s had more experience moving than some adults I know. In just one year he’s moved from foster home to foster home to foster home… and now he’ll move again.

One thing is for sure though. I understand what it means:

I am no longer his protector. I have a very official letter from the agency stating just that. 

I no longer rush out of the office at 5:02 PM each evening to pick him up from daycare praying the whole way that he got a green and we don’t have to sit through another parent-teacher conference.

I no longer spend Saturday mornings building robots out of giant legos. Or assembling paw patrol puzzles or dancing around the living room to Hakuna Matata.

I won’t spend my lunch breaks at Target shopping for superhero T-shirts. There will be no more About Me posters to assemble for Pre-k. The letter magnets on the fridge have been packed up and I won’t practice counting out loud to 20, so he can hear the order of 14-15-16 and get it right next time.

But I can also walk into a grocery store without panic building in the pit of my stomach because there won’t be a 4 year old who takes his shoe off and throws it at me. There will be no more scratching or biting or trying to jump out of a moving car either.

Yes, part of me is so, so relieved this chapter is over.

But I am also sad.

And I am scared, because I don’t know what the future holds for this dear, sweet, broken little boy. I no longer have control.

But then, as a foster parent, you never really do.