How Do We Say Goodbye to a Child We Have Cared For

This was something we had never considered when we become foster carers, but it was something we had to deal with pretty quickly as we started our fostering journey. Some of the things that helped was;

1. Keep reminding yourself that reunification with birth family is the priority.

2.  Remind the foster children to send mother’s day cards, Christmas and birthday cards to their birth family.  This keeps them connected and to remember their importance.

3.  We treat foster children as if they are our own, so when they leave we need to take time to grieve.

4.  Know that you will feel every emotion during the process…… Grief, Guilt, Anger etc. Know it’s not just okay to have emotional attachments to the children you raise, it is imperative foster children experience close connection “attachment” and the relationship does not end, it changes.

5. Take time to do something nice for yourself and spend time with your family.

So how do we say goodbye? We don’t, we say see you later, which in our case we often do, whether it be at 21st celebrations or weddings we have often remained in our foster children’s lives. Facebook has made it easier but it is important to get details as they move. It is important to keep an attachment open and for children to realise relationships do not always end.

Allow yourself to connect with foster children and give yourself time to go through the emotional process when they leave.

Rob Surtees

Senior Therapist




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